Category Archives: Go Smart

From a fun childhood hobby to a practical transportation mode

In the public transit world, we often see people combining different modes of transportation to get to their destinations – biking to the train station, walking to the bus stop, driving your car to meet your carpool group – but skateboarding and bus riding was a refreshingly different commute alternative!

As the new school year started earlier this month, we met Destiny Nunez at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. She hopped off the bus at the Chaffey Transit Center and got on her skateboard, zooming by her schoolmates as they all made their way across campus. The 21-year-old San Bernardino County native rides Omnitrans to school, where she is currently in her second year of art studies working toward a career in animation.

“Omnitrans has been my main transportation to get to school,” she shares with us. “I don’t have a car yet, but I don’t mind riding the bus. It costs much less than having a car would, and even when I do get a car, I will try to ride the bus whenever possible because it’s just better to do that for the environment due to car emissions.”

Choosing and committing to a college after high school can be a daunting task, but Destiny planned hers around transportation. Because of Omnitrans’ GoSmart program and the one-seat ride that would get her to school on Route 80, Chaffey was the obvious choice for Destiny.

“One of my questions was, ‘would I be able to get there?’ I don’t really rely on people to get me places, so when I looked at the bus route and saw that it was convenient, I thought it was great that service was provided. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to come.”

And while some young people would not be caught dead riding the bus, Destiny is laughing back at critics. “I do a lot of homework on the bus, since it’s about a 50 minute ride. It’s really quiet and easy to get work done, or even study quickly before a test on the way to school. It definitely opens up more time for productivity, and I really like that part of it, too, because school can get so busy – especially if you also have a job. I work as well, so I really try to utilize every free minute I have and riding the bus allows me to do that.”

In a world where all of our attention is funneled into our smartphones or other devices, riding the bus also provides an authentic connection to others. “There are nice people that you meet on the bus. It’s usually other schoolmates who have your same schedule, so you always see them on the bus or waiting at the bus stop. That’s really nice. I don’t think I would’ve talked to those people any other way. Everyone’s so busy that they don’t really have time to stop and chat unless you’re in the same situation. I also like chatting with people older than me on the bus because you learn a lot from them. It’s nice to have little conversations and interactions that are always uplifting,” shares Destiny.

Getting the most out of her commute is something that Destiny has mastered at this point. She has meaningful interactions on the bus, spends time catching up on homework or studying, but is also able to get some fun out of it by riding her skateboard to the bus stop, a leisure interest that she has carried into adulthood from her youth.

“I ride my skateboard from my house to the bus stop, so it gets me there faster than walking. I’ve been doing this since middle school, if not a little bit before that. I grew up around a lot of boys, and my cousin and best friend growing up got me into skateboarding because he thought it would be fun for us to do together,” she reminisces.

“We got some little, plastic skateboards and started watching all the skateboarders. We finally got real skateboards and from that point, it became an everyday thing for us. After that, we became hardcore fans, practicing tricks. It was so much fun and I still love it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing it!” she tells us before skating off for an Art Club meeting. Happy riding, Destiny!

Omnitrans helps student athlete’s dream take flight

For second-year Cal State University, San Bernardino student Christiana Campbell, riding Omnitrans is part of her daily routine as she works toward achieving her dream of becoming a United States Air Force officer.

“My end goal is to go into the military just like my dad. I want to go into the Air Force as an officer after completing my degree. Enlisting with a degree under my belt, I would be able to go in as an officer, with higher rank and more pay,” shares Christina.

Currently, Christiana has just over two years left of schooling at CSUSB. In addition to the academic demands of student life, she is also a cross country and track and field collegiate athlete. A determined and ambitious young woman, she commutes to campus Monday through Friday from Moreno Valley.

“I’m a second year student, going into my third this fall. I’m majoring in kinesiology and exercise science, and on top of that, I’m an athlete. I have practice in the morning and class in the afternoon, so, I have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to get to school on time every day,” she shares.

After taking a local route from Moreno Valley, Christiana catches Omnitrans Freeway Express Route 215 at the Downtown Riverside Metrolink station and connects to sbX at the San Bernardino Transit Center to get to CSUSB.

“I enjoy the sbX service. I’ve had good experiences, especially when I learned that I could get on sbX and only have a 15 minute bus ride compared to Route 7. The drivers are really cool, and I give them props because being a bus driver must be really hard. They get me to school safely which I’m thankful for, and I feel safe here [at the San Bernardino Transit Center].”

“I also like that I can just swipe my student ID for rides on Omnitrans, because when I get to Riverside I have to pay.”

Christiana is speaking of the Omnitrans program for CSUSB students, GoSmart, which allows her unlimited rides on our system. “Saving money has been nice! I don’t have to worry about finding and paying for parking at school,” she says.

Christiana plans to get a car in the next few months to save her some commute time as she navigates academics, athletics and explores working part-time. But that doesn’t mean that she’ll be saying goodbye to saving money and gas with Omnitrans!

Christiana was delighted to learn of the ability to park at one of the Park and Ride lots along the sbX corridor, avoid the parking permit cost at CSUSB, and continue to take advantage of her GoSmart privileges to get to school on sbX.

“It took me a while to get used to taking the bus, but a lot of students do it, and it isn’t bad,” says Christiana, who is putting in the effort and overcoming hurdles each and every day to reach her personal finish line. “Omnitrans really is helping me achieve that,” she tells us with a smile before boarding the bus back home.

Passengers like Christina rely on Omnitrans to get to work, school, and other key destinations. We hope you enjoy her story – we’re interested in yours too! E-mail onlinemktg@omnitrans.org to share your story and we may feature you in a future rider profile.

Back to School with GoSmart

Students at participating schools, colleges and universities in the San Bernardino Valley enjoy unlimited rides on Omnitrans fixed routes thanks to the GoSmart Student Pass Program. Students with a valid student ID from participating schools, colleges and universities can get unlimited rides on any Omnitrans fixed route. The free rides are funded by a small transportation fee which is included as part of their student fees each semester.

GoSmart students save on gas and car expenses and avoid parking hassles. And they are not just limited to traveling back and forth to school. Unlimited rides means exactly that. They can travel anywhere, anytime with a simple swipe of their student ID card.

GoSmart transportation services available:

Unlimited rides are available to GoSmart students on all Omnitrans fixed route buses, OmniGo buses and our new sbX express service.

Students who are prequalified for our Access ADA service get a 20% discount on the purchase of Access one way base fare tickets. A student must be actively enrolled in one or more units to qualify. Contact our Pass Sales office at 909-379-7100 for details.

Participating GoSmart Schools:

  • California State University San Bernardino
  • Chaffey College
  • Crafton Hills College
  • San Bernardino Valley College
  • Art Institute of California-Inland Empire
  • Academy of the Inland Empire
  • Alternative Learning Center/Destination Diploma/San Andreas High School
  • ASA Charter School
  • Youthbuild

Not a GoSmart student but still interested in saving money?
Riders ages 18 and under qualify for a discount on 7-day and 31-day passes with a proof of age or high school ID. Students over age 18 must pay full fare rates, unless they are enrolled at a school, college or university that is participating in the Omnitrans GoSmart program. Click here to view our fare table.

Go Smart summer update

Have questions about who is eligible for Go Smart during the summer? Here’s the scoop:

Chaffey, Crafton Hills  &
San Bernardino Valley Colleges 

If you are a student who was enrolled during the prior spring semester at Chaffey College, Crafton Hills College or San Bernardino Valley College, you can continue to receive unlimited rides with your student ID through July. Your Go Smart transportation fee was covered in your spring student fees.

If you are a summer student NOT enrolled in the prior spring semester at one of the above colleges, you are NOT eligible for unlimited rides through Go Smart.  Summer student fees do not include the Go Smart transportation fee.

Cal State San Bernardino

Cal State students are covered for the summer quarter and, thanks to financial support from Associated Students Inc., the Go Smart program will continue in 2014-15!

Art Institute of California – Inland Empire

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire is year round; students currently enrolled who also have a Go Smart pass ID can ride free.

Students at the charter schools below are covered through the end of their spring semester, NOT during the summer break.  

  • Academy of the Inland Empire
  • Alternative Learning Center/Destination Diploma
  • ASA Charter School
  • Youthbuild

Go Smart students at San Bernardino Valley College

Student vet pursues his dreams

Jonathan Price joined the Army at 18 after he lost his job at Macys. He worked as a unit supply specialist for three years. When he was released from service in 2010 and transitioned back to civilian life, he was unprepared for the changes that had taken place.

“When you’re in the military, you’re living in a sort of protected bubble, separate from the rest of the world,” said Jonathan. “You receive your paycheck like clockwork every other week, and your expenses never really change. And you don’t have to worry about rent or a car or anything like that. You’re pretty insulated. I had always assumed that when I got out there would be lots of opportunities for vets, but it wasn’t like that at all. There was a recession going on and it was extremely hard to find work. That was a huge eye-opener.”

He began looking into 4-year colleges but found them to be too expensive to fit his budget. Then he found San Bernardino Valley Community College, which he felt would give him a good basic foundation of classes to build on. The Go Smart Program was additional bonus. As a student enrollee, he would be eligible for unlimited rides on Omnitrans for a per-semester fee of less than $10.

“Go Smart definitely has had a tremendous impact on my life. The $10 fee is nothing compared to what I would have had to pay monthly. It saves me a lot of money. Now I can just swipe my student I.D. and take the bus to school, to my job at the Family Dollar store and anywhere else I need to go. It’s great because I’m not comfortable carrying cash around.”

Jonathan has now been taking classes Valley College for the past 1 ½ years. He’s found that his military training has helped him stay focused.

“You learn in the military to adapt to unexpected changes and not to take things personally. If I have to switch my schedule for some reason or can’t get a class I had planned on, I just take it in stride. I never worry about liking or not liking an instructor. I don’t harbor those kinds of emotions. My focus is simply to get it done and get out.”

Jonathan has also started a new hobby—growing plants. “It really surprised my girlfriend,” he laughs. “But I enjoy it and find it relaxing. I really want to start a garden.”

His long-term goal is to make a difference in his community. He eventually hopes to work in communications and public relations, helping those who couldn’t normally afford those services.

“My dream is to one day own and operate my own PR firm,” said Jonathan. “I’d really like to help small businesses get their name out there without robbing them. PR agencies are generally very expensive, and geared towards larger companies. I want to be able to work with small businesses and help them succeed in the marketplace.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
   juno.carlson@omnitrans.org 

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Chaffey Offers New Club for Student Veterans

In fall of 2011, Chaffey Community College partnered with Omnitrans to bring the Go Smart program to its college campus, making it possible for students to take unlimited rides on Omnitrans for a per-semester fee of less than $10.

Now Chaffey is taking the lead in another exciting new program. This semester, in an effort to support the veteran branch of its student population, the Chaffey College Veterans Club was formed. The club is an opportunity for members to collaborate on activities and projects, as well as learn about other groups on campus they can get involved with.

“It lets other students see that our vets have a lot to offer,” said the club’s faculty advisor Daniel Keener. “As an English teacher, I had a lot of vets coming to class and writing narratives about their experiences. I had never been exposed to that before. They had very powerful stories to tell and needed help finding their voice. The Chaffey College Veterans Club provides a supportive environment to explore that.”

This month the club has several student activities planned:

  • November 12th – One Book, One College in partnership with Associated Students of Chaffey College (ASCC) is holding a celebration/recognition for our veterans. Event will be held on campus at the Wignall Museum from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.
  • November 13th – One Book, One College, headed by Professor Julie LaMay, will be hosting several Vietnam War veterans who will give round table discussions about their experiences during the war. Event will be held on campus at the Wignall Museum from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
  • November 14th – Club faculty advisor Daniel Keener will be hosting a movie screening of The War Tapes, a documentary made by soldiers during their deployment in Iraq.

“This is a really great bunch of people,” said Keener. “And we have a lot of fun together. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about life from their stories. When you go through what some of them have been through, it’s incredibly difficult to come back from that to a mundane everyday existence. It’s doubly hard for this group, because they are transitioning not only to civilian life, but to student life as well. I like being there for them on that journey.”

For more information on the Chaffey College Veterans Club and their activities, contact Daniel Keener at Daniel.keener@chaffey.edu.

 

Savvy Mom Goes Smart

Erica Clendenen and her oldest son Isaiah

Pursuing a college degree as a 43-year-old divorced mom of three on a tight budget can be challenging—especially when you don’t drive.

But that’s not stopping Omnitrans rider Erica Clendenen, who is currently working on her associates degree at San Bernardino Valley College and plans to pursue her bachelors in social work at Cal State University, San Bernardino. Although she tries to take her courses online whenever possible to keep costs down, several of them require live classroom training.  Thanks to the Go Smart program, she can easily get to her classes—and anywhere else she needs to go—by riding the bus for free with just her student ID.

Chelsea Clendenen grabs a quick bite at the bus stop

“I couldn’t do this without Go Smart,” admits Erica frankly. “I have three children ages 8, 10 and 15, so getting around can be very expensive for us as a family.  Having my own bus fare covered by the program helps us tremendously.”

Erica’s kids have been riding Omnitrans for so many years that they know all the stops and routes by heart. Her youngest loves the bus and enjoys saying hello to the drivers. Erica herself is a technology buff and a huge fan of NexTrip.

“I’m obsessed with the NexTrip app!” she laughs. “I’m on it more than games or anything else on my cell phone. Before, I was always missing the bus. Now I set alerts to notify me two minutes in advance of when the bus is arriving.  I love it! I’m pretty impatient and don’t like sitting at the stop. With NexTrip, I can do some shopping at the grocery store instead of just waiting around.”

Like many Omnitrans riders, Erica has a heightened sense of community and a strong desire to make a difference.

Elijah Clendenen waits for the bus

“My goal is to work with troubled teens when they first get into the court system—to help them turn their lives around. It’s so easy for kids to get involved with gangs and drugs and guns. I’m thankful that my 15-year-old is a homebody. He’s an honors student and would rather be at home playing his video games than out on the street. But some of his friends have been in trouble, and it’s really hard. We’re losing too many young men to the street. They need someone to believe in them. They need to know that even though your neighborhood or living situation might not be great, you can choose to go forward and make a better life. It’s all about making good choices.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org