Category Archives: Bus Ridership

Community College Students Go Smart with Omnitrans

Chaffey, Crafton Hills, and San Bernardino Valley College

The popular Go Smart program will continue for Chaffey, Crafton Hills, and San Bernardino Valley College students this fall, enabling them to enjoy unlimited bus rides on Omnitrans with their student ID cards. Last spring these students voted to fund the program by assessing themselves a small transportation fee each semester as part of their regular student fees.

A list of currently enrolled student IDs  is provided to Omnitrans by these participating colleges. Students must contact their college directly if there is a problem with their ID  cards.

The Art Institute

The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire is currently participating in the Go Smart pilot program. Instead of ID cards, students at the Institute must obtain a separate pass from the campus store. Passes from previous quarters must also be renewed at the campus store in order to be valid. If you have any questions about the Go Smart program at the Art Institute, visit Student Affairs for more information.

Cal State San Bernardino

The CSUSB Go Smart pilot program ended on June 30th, and there is currently no program to replace it. If this program is important to you and you would like to see it renewed, please contact Associated Students Inc. (ASI) by calling 909-537-5932 or 909-537-5930. You can also email the ASI at asi-pres@causb.edu or visit them on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/asi.csusb. Thank you for your patience.

Omnitrans awarded $5.3 million for transit center

Click photo for larger view.

Draft plan for the San Bernardino Transit Center. The design and construction of the transit center project is being led by the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG). 

In a press release today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) congratulated Omnitrans on its award of a $5.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), for the construction of a new bus facility in San Bernardino, California. The funding, which is part of the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus Livability grants program, will be used to construct a 22 bus bay complex as part of the San Bernardino Transit Center.

“I congratulate Omnitrans for their efforts in securing this critical federal grant assistance,” said Rep. Baca. “I was proud to lend my support to this responsible grant request. Construction of a new bus bay at the San Bernardino Transit Center will help to reduce congestion for Inland residents, and improve the overall quality of life in our communities.”

The San Bernardino Transit Center will use the awarded funds to construct a bus facility comprised of 22 bus bays with shelters and real-time bus arrival information for passengers. The facility will also include a transit station building with public restrooms and meeting rooms, a bike station with secure bike parking and short-term rental services, food vending, bike and pedestrian paths, public art, and street improvements.

Rep. Baca sent a letter of support to the Department of Transportation in March of 2012, urging the Federal Transit Administration to successfully award Omnitrans’ grant request.

“Better investment in our nation’s infrastructure is imperative to the success of our economic recovery,” concluded Rep. Baca. “This funding will improve public transportation for all area residents, while also helping to get more cars off the road to ease congestion and improve air quality for Inland residents. I will continue to work so that Inland communities have access to vital grant assistance made available by the federal government.”

sbX Construction Update for July 16-20

To establish a safe work environment for crews and the public, the construction crew has implemented traffic control measures that allow for at least one lane in each direction to be open during construction. Maintaining access to businesses is a high priority as part of this project. As such, signage is placed throughout the corridor to inform the public that they are open for business.

Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue Park-and-Ride-Facility

  • Parameters: South of Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue intersection
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Work on park-and-ride restroom continues
  • LANE CLOSURE: NA

CSUSB

  • Parameters: New bus station location on campus
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Paving and concrete pouring activities continue, Work on bus passenger platform continues
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect.

E Street

  • Parameters: Select locations between 10th Street and Hospitality Lane
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Driveway, curb and gutter work continues, tree relocation, storm drain activities, electrical activities, traffic signal activities, water service activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: Parking and lane nearest the curb along the east side of E Street between 10th Street and 6th Street has been eliminated. Traffic control in effect on east and west side of E Street throughout the corridor.

Hospitality Lane

  • Parameters: Select locations between E Street and Tippecanoe Avenue
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Intermittent Day Work
  • Specifics: Driveway, curb and gutter work continues, tree removal in center medians, cut and cap irrigation activities, landscaping activities, electrical activities, traffic signal activities, water service activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: North side of Hospitality Lane nearest the curb is closed.

Various Bus Station Locations

  • Parameters: Little Mountain Drive, Shandin Hills Drive, Marshall Boulevard, Highland Avenue, Baseline Street
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Irrigation activities, storm drain activities, and platform structure activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect at select bus stop locations.

About sbX
The sbX BRT Project is the first-of-its kind express service to be constructed in the Inland Empire. It is the beginning of an intermodal public transit system in the San Bernardino Valley that will help reduce vehicle congestion while providing the public an environmentally friendly alternative that is sophisticated, cost effective, and time efficient.

The 15.7-mile corridor spans between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda. It will include 16 art-inspired stations at key university, government, business, entertainment and medical centers as well as four park-and-ride facilities.

Visit the Omnitrans sbX Facebook page!
http://facebook.com/omnitrans.sbx

Omnitrans carries over 16 million riders

Omnitrans added a million riders in 2011-12 compared to the prior year, surpassing the 16 million mark for the first time since 2004. On an average weekday, the transit agency’s buses carried over 52,000 passengers, a 7.7% increase from fiscal year 2011.

“Transit ridership is growing across the country,” said CEO/General Manager Milo Victoria, “but Omnitrans is ahead of the trend. Nationally, ridership was up about 5% for the first quarter of calendar year 2012, while Omnitrans grew 8%.”

A key growth factor is the “Go Smart” college program that provides unlimited bus rides to students at participating colleges. A one-year pilot program generated over 1.4 million trips from students at California State University San Bernardino, Chaffey College, Crafton Hills College and Valley College. Over 25 percent of enrolled students hopped on board. The pilot program was funded by 15 local cities, the County, partner colleges and Omnitrans. This spring students at Chaffey, Crafton Hills and Valley Colleges approved student fees to continue the program for five years. CSUSB is hoping to fund another year of the pilot program. The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire joined the program in May.

The growth comes at a time when the transit agency has implemented only modest enhancements after service cuts were implemented in 2010 due to budget shortfalls. While ridership increased 7.4% on average among all routes and services, some led the way. OmniGo community shuttle routes continue to capture new riders, achieving a 34% upsurge year over year. Introduced in September 2010, OmniGo serves the cities of Chino Hills, Grand Terrace and Yucaipa using smaller 16-passenger vehicles more suited to these residential areas than traditional transit buses.

Express Route 215, which travels the 215 freeway corridor to connect San Bernardino and Riverside posted a 17% gain. “This bodes well for our sbX bus rapid transit line under construction,” said Director of Marketing Wendy Williams. “Commuters are looking for low cost alternatives that are time competitive with driving.”

While high gas prices are likely contributors to rising transit ridership, national studies also show that younger Americans are driving less. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that between 2001 and 2009 the average annual vehicle miles traveled by Americans ages 16 to 34 fell by close to a quarter, from 10,300 to 7,900 per capita. At the same time, the amount of bicycling, walking, and public transit ridership increased.

Go Smart and Student IDs

UPDATED 7/18/2012

If you are a student at a college that is currently participating with our Go Smart program and are experiencing issues with the acceptance of your student ID, here are some facts that will hopefully clarify what is happening.

Cal State Students

  • All IDs are no longer accepted due to end of the pilot program on June 30th and no permanent program to replace it.

Chaffey, Crafton Hills, and Valley Colleges

  • IDs from students enrolled in prior Spring semester are accepted for the month of July.
  • Summer-only students are not included.
  • IDs from students registered for Fall 2012 will be accepted beginning August 1st    
  • The list of accepted IDs is provided by the colleges.  Students must contact the college directly if there is a problem.

Art Institute of California-Inland Empire

  • Student IDs are not considered passes – a separate pass must be obtained at the Campus Store.
  • All passes from previous quarters need to be renewed by visiting the Campus Store. Deadline to renew for the Summer 2012 quarter is July 25.
  • If your pass reads “error” or “invalid” when swiped, visit the Cage to get the card re-coded.
  • Any questions about the GoSmart Program at The Art Institute – visit Student Affairs.

Getting into the Independence Day Spirit

Coach operator, Marie Breaux, has been with Omnitrans for 10 years. She feels all holidays need to be celebrated–and what better way to do it than with a special hat!  For the 4th of July this year, she is showing off her own fabulous set of fireworks!

Please keep in mind that our offices are closed and buses will not be running on July 4th.  From all of us at Omnitrans, best wishes for a safe and happy Independence Day celebration!

Homeless newlyweds get fresh start with Omnitrans

Homeless newlyweds used Omnitrans to help them overcome homelessnessThree years ago Corey and Maryrose Boggs were homeless and living on the streets in San Bernardino County. Omnitrans played a key role in their journey to self-sufficiency.

Corey was 19 and Maryrose was 18 when they met on the Internet and fell in love. However, there were major complications to overcome. Corey was living in Chicago and had recently lost his job. His plan was to find work and save up money for six months so the two could meet in person and get married. To Maryrose, that felt like an eternity. Unable to wait, she held a garage sale, sold most of her belongings and flew to Chicago to be with Corey.

Four days later, they got married at Corey’s uncle’s house church, Potter’s Field Ministries, in Bridgeview, IL. When they flew back to California, they faced less than ideal circumstances as they bounced from place to place, living briefly with relatives, staying at homeless  shelters, and working for a short time at a Christian-based farm for room and board. “”We even slept in a bush for a short time,”” laughed Corey. ””You can tell a woman really loves you when she’s willing to live with you in a bush!””

With little money and few resources, the two relied heavily on public transit to help them overcome their circumstances. “We used Omnitrans to do everything,” said Maryrose. “We rode the bus to get to the library to do job searches, to the Salvation Army so that we could shower and to the plasma center so we could donate plasma to get money for food and fares. For a while we even rode Omnitrans out to Crafton Hills College and used their library computers to take online college classes.”

At one point the couple posted an ad to Craig’s List, asking for a bus pass donation just so they could keep going. A good Samaritan responded, meeting them at an outlet, and buying both of them a 31-Day pass. It was an amazing and unexpected gift for the grateful pair. “The man told us he’d been through hard times himself,” said Corey. “And that he felt it was important that we all look out for one another.”

This October, Corey and Maryrose celebrate their third wedding anniversary. The two now live happily in a nice apartment in Illinois where Corey works in sales doing door-to-door marketing. He plans on going back to school and finishing his business degree. He offers two pieces of advice to others who find themselves out on the street.

“Don’t be an idiot and decide to do drugs. You need a straight mind to find a job and get out of your situation. There’s so many things you need to think about all the time. For instance you can’t shower just anywhere, and it’s a lot harder to get work if you’re dirty. You have to be able to find the resources you need to get help. Also, take advantage of public transportation in your area. Omnitrans was a huge lifesaver for us and opened the door to more opportunities. If you can, invest in a 31-Day Bus Pass. We did a lot of one day at a time passes, but it is so much cheaper if you can buy the longer passes. You will save a lot of money that way.””

“And have faith. Being together was always the most important thing for us,” added Maryrose. “We trusted in God and our love for each other.”

Corey agrees. “I can say with 100% certainty that our future is solid. When you’ve gone through living on the street together, you know there is nothing you can’t survive as a couple.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

“Infinite Love” symbolized Maryrose and Corey’s love and commitment to each other

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Fireworks not permitted on public buses

Planning your 4th of July celebrations? Be aware that, for the safety of our passengers, the transportation of fireworks is not permitted on any Omnitrans vehicle.

Our offices will be closed and the buses will not be running on Wednesday, July 4th. Please remember to plan in advance to make alternate arrangements for your holiday travel.

We wish you and your families a safe and happy Independence Day!

Buster’s Destinations: Hooray for Hollywood

Hooray!  It’s Dump the Pump Day and Buster is already out and about, sending photos of his adventures back to us in the office today.  Since Buster had a meeting in Los Angeles, he thought it would be a great idea to show everyone how easy it is to use public transportation to avoid what can be a very challenging commute.  Buster is very ANTI road rage.

Buster’s hopped on Omnitrans Route 1, to get to the San Bernardino depot.  Normally when boarding Omnitrans, Buster would flash his 7-Day or 31-Day pass, but today he used his Dump the Pump FREE RIDE coupon, good for today, June 21 only.  He caught an early morning Metrolink train to Los Angeles’ Union Station, which cost only $23.50 for a round trip ticket. By accessing Metrolink’s schedules on his cell phone, he was able to plan his trip ahead of time.  During the journey to L.A.’s Union Station, Buster made the most of his time by doing some work on his laptop.   Riding in the “quiet car” made it easy.

At L.A.’s Union Station, Buster transferred to MTA’s Red Line to get to his destination.  Since Metrolink train tickets are good for a free transfer to any Metro light rail or Metro bus, Buster saved even more money on his trip, which allowed him to purchase a souvenir map to several celebrity homes, using public transportation of course.  Along the way, he noted the interesting stops:  Civic Center, 7th & Figueroa, Hollywood & Highland and more.  Buster realized he could easily visit the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, catch a Lakers or a Kings game at Staples Center or take in a play at the Pantages Theater-all using public transportation.  What fun!

After work, Buster will use the Red Line and transfer at Union Station to Metrolink.  Since his commute time is smack dab in the middle of the dinner hour, Buster has informed us that he will disembark at the Montclair Transfer Center and grab dinner at The Hat in Upland, using Omnitrans Route 66.

He’s promised to bring back a “Los Angeles in Winter” snow globe us.

–Janice Kuhn

Omnitrans is pleased to participate in the 7th Annual National Dump the Pump Day on Thursday, June 21. Dump the Pump is sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association to encourage the public to give up their car for the day and use public transportation. In recognition of Dump the Pump day, Omnitrans will offer free rides on all fixed routes on June 21 (free ride coupon required).  To download your free ride coupon, visit us on omnitrans.org.

 

Public transit ridership soars in 2012

According to an article in USA Today, transit agencies across the nation are showing record or near-record ridership for the first quarter of 2012. The American Public Transportation Association(APTA) announced bus ridership increased in 34 out of 37 large cities. Omnitrans saw an 8% increase in ridership for January February and March.

“High gas prices were part of the reason for this large first quarter ridership increase,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.  “More and more people are choosing to save money by taking public transportation when gas prices are high.”

Get a FREE ride on Omnitrans!
Are high gas prices getting you down? Thinking about making the move to public transit? Visit the Omnitrans website for a printable coupon that will allow you to ride the bus for free on national Dump the Pump Day, June 21st. You can also find a free ride coupon in the Sunday, June 17th editions of the San Bernardino Sun and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.