Category Archives: Omnitrans buses

New buses in East Valley equipped with USB charging ports, enhancements made to sbX fleet

Every now and then, you’ve got to freshen things up a bit. At Omnitrans, we are doing so by welcoming new coaches to the East Valley fleet, and doing a couple of touch ups to the sbX fleet.

A few weeks ago, 24 New Flyer Xcelsior buses, numbers #1341 to #1364, were made service-ready by our maintenance team and are now out on the road. On the rapid transit front, sbX sports a new interior look and new bike racks. You may have already noticed these enhancements while riding in recent weeks.

The new buses come equipped with USB charging ports between/below seats, which riders may use to charge their mobile devices (cords not included). This is convenient for all, but especially for riders who travel long distances and are looking for ways to keep busy during their commute to and from work or school. Feel free to binge watch your Netflix shows or stream your favorite new album (don’t forget your earbuds, please) without fear of your mobile device battery dying!

New buses equipped with USB ports are identified by a USB decal on the rear.

Not only do our passengers benefit from these enhancements – so does the environment! The near-zero engine on the new vehicles is a game-changer for cleaner air quality. Though our entire fleet has been fueled with natural gas for many years, this further underscores our commitment to improving the quality of the air we breathe.

“This is our first build that has come with the ISL G Near Zero natural gas engine,” says Maintenance Manager Omar Bryant. “It is the latest and greatest engine with the least amount of emissions, exhausting 90% less than the standard.”

Not to be outdone, the sbX rapid transit fleet has recently undergone an interior facelift. Riders will notice new seat upholstery with a brand new color and design. “After regular wear and tear since the sbX launch in 2013, it was time to re-do the seats,” says Omar.

Upgraded upholstery in sbX buses has transitioned from the original red seat covers to a bright blue pattern fabric.

Bike riders are also enjoying more reliable onboard bike securement racks, conceptualized and created in-house by our very own employees last spring. All sbX buses have now been retro-fitted and feature the new bike racks, making commuting by bike and bus simpler and safer for all onboard passengers.

The bike’s rear tires are positioned between the slots on the rack, and a lever bar is pulled up, then tightly secured on the rear tire. The original Velcro straps remain for added support in the center of the bike.

Omnitrans is proud to usher in these enhancement to our local-route and sbX fleet to better serve transit passengers in the east side of the San Bernardino Valley. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Omnitrans Introduces “Don’t Touch the Driver” Safety Campaign

In partnership with WeTip, Inc., Omnitrans is introducing a new safety information campaign, “Don’t Touch the Driver,” on its buses and at transit centers to remind the community that any violence against bus drivers may be a felony offense.

“Driver assaults are infrequent at Omnitrans. Unfortunately they are trending upward. In partnership with WeTip are taking a proactive role to protect our employees and customers,” said Omnitrans Security & Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Mark Crosby.

Campaign materials feature a simple graphic and the information that any assault against a bus driver may result in arrest and prosecution. Anyone who has information that leads to the arrest and conviction of someone responsible for such an incident is eligible to receive a WeTip reward of up to $1,000.

WeTip, Inc. offers an anonymous nationwide crime reporting hotline, 1-800-78-CRIME (1-800-78-27463). Operators are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to take information on crime, including any related to public transit. Calls are completely anonymous.  Tips may also be submitted online at www.wetip.com.

“Don’t Touch the Driver” decals are being placed in each Omnitrans bus, and signage also will appear at transit centers and on the agency website.

Purchase Your Omnitrans Commemorative Toy Bus!

7/3/17 – Commemorative toy buses have officially sold out and are no longer available online or in person.

Due to popular demand, we are now selling commemorative Omnitrans toy buses while supplies last! The buses were created to celebrate our 40th Anniversary and are custom designed to replicate our newer bus model. The plastic buses are 9” long and can be used as a toy or displayed in your home or office desk as a collector’s item.

This hot commodity is going fast! To obtain yours today, please visit our Omnitrans Store online, or purchase them in person for $10 at the San Bernardino Transit Center or our administrative office main lobby located at 1700 W. 5th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92411.

2016 Holiday Season Bus Schedule

happy-holidays

The holiday season is upon us! As you plan your travel this season, keep in mind that Omnitrans buses will not be in service on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25th. Bus service will resume on Monday, December 26th. Our administrative offices will be closed on Monday, December 26th to observe the holiday.

The following week, buses will not be in service on Sunday, January 1st, 2017 for New Year’s Day, and will resume on Monday, January 2nd. Our administrative offices will be closed on Monday, January 2nd.

Thank you for joining us along for the ride in 2016, our 40th year of service! Omnitrans wishes you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a prosperous new year.

For all the latest info & news, plus real-time bus arrival times via NexTrip, download the official Omnitrans mobile app for FREE on the iTunes app store or Google Play!

Omnitrans Proposes Service Change to Route 215

Omnitrans is proposing a service change for early next year – and we want your feedback! The service changes would affect Freeway Express Route 215, which connects passengers between San Bernardino and Riverside with limited stops. Due to the closing of the Riverside Transit Center, plans are to reroute Route 215 to serve the Downtown Riverside Metrolink Station on Vine Street. The map below illustrates these changes:

rt-215-jan-2017-svc-change-board

To gather public comment, Omnitrans staff will be at the San Bernardino Transit Center on Thursday, November 3, 2016 from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m., near the Route 215 and 290 stops. In addition to the proposed changes, we will be listening to your feedback on all Omnitrans services, with specific focus on the recently implemented mid-day Route 290 service.

If approved, the Route 215 change would become effective on January 8, 2017 to coincide with Riverside Transit’s (RTA) transit center closure.

The San Bernardino Transit Center is located at 599 W Rialto Ave, San Bernardino, CA 92410.

A rainbow connection at Omnitrans

Today’s storm clouds and heavy rains ended with a brief but brilliant rainbow over the Omnitrans bus yard this evening. Maintenance Analyst and Green Team member Caroljo Mitcham made it to the balcony just in time to grab these photos on her phone. Thanks for sharing, CJ!

Coach Operators: more than a driver

As Omnitrans CEO Milo Victoria points out, transit is not about buses. It’s about people. “Omnitrans provides a great service to the community. It’s not just about transferring people from point A to point B. We consider our passengers to be part of our family, and families take care of each other.”

This is why every Omnitrans coach operator receives extensive training, not only in customer service and the safe operation of our coaches, but in multiple emergency scenarios as well. They learn to deal with a wide variety of crisis situations from careless car drivers to terrorist attacks. The goal is to be prepared for anything.

Over the past year Omnitrans coach operators have helped with the identification and safe return of elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s. They have acted to save lives of those suffering from heart attacks or diabetic seizures. They have offered assistance to women who appeared to be victims of abuse. They have even come to the aid of small children who were lost or abandoned.

Yesterday, one coach operator had the opportunity to put his emergency skills into action when an officer-involved shooting took place near Hospitality in San Bernardino. See the full story in the San Bernardino Sun. He was driving his bus when he heard the sound of gunfire and his rearview mirror suddenly shattered. This 18 year fleet veteran acted quickly, calmly pulling the bus out of danger, speaking with police on the scene and notifying dispatch.

“I was scared at first,” he said frankly. “But then my training kicked in and I knew exactly what to do. My first priority was the safety of my passengers.”

“This is the whole purpose of our training program,” says Omnitrans training supervisor Don Frazier. “Because our coach operators are so well prepared, their reaction becomes almost instinctive. Ray Lopez, our director of Safety and Security, and his team Brenda Rosas and Mark Crosby do a really remarkable job with annual emergency training. The coach operators are given the skills to handle even the most unexpected situation and are confident in the immediate support and backup they will receive from dispatch and our field supervisors. Being a coach operator is not just about driving a bus. It’s about helping people and coping with the unexpected curves life throws at us every day.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

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

Omnitrans spotlighted in USA Today

In this morning’s issue of USA Today, reporter Larry Copeland did a feature story on the growing use of alternative fuels by public transit agencies.

The article highlights Omnitrans as an industry leader in the use of compressed natural gas.  The agency began transitioning its fleet to CNG fuel as early as 1997 and by the end of this month will have surpassed 100 million CNG miles.  LA Metro and Flint Mass Transportation Authority are also included as strong supporters of alternative fuel.

Click here to read the full story.

Behind the Scenes: Maintenance Shop

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to make our Omnitrans buses running smoothly and safely? We recently paid a visit to the shop where we were treated to a tour.

Mechanic Rudy Hernandez started working for Omnitrans as a young high school intern. As soon as he graduated, we brought him on board as a mechanic, and he’s been with us ever since.

Rudy and the other mechanics routinely  inspect each bus inside and out to make sure the vehicle is ready for its route.

From wheelchair locks,  bike racks, mirrors, engines, hoses and belts–everything must be tested to make sure it’s in good working condition.

Empty bus bays are always a good sign. It means vehicles are working and out on the road!

Omnitrans CEO Milo Victoria began his career in public transit as a mechanic. He still enjoys visiting the shop to check out the buses.

For more photos from our tour, visit us on Flickr!

Behind the Scenes in Planning

Omnitrans Planning team, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

The Omnitrans Planning Department is always thinking about the future, and right now one of their biggest projects is the San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC). The SBTC will be located on the southwest corner of E Street and Rialto Avenue. It will be the major transportation hub in downtown San Bernardino with connections between the new sbX service scheduled to start early next year, thirteen local Omnitrans routes, other regional transit providers, extended Metrolink service and future Redlands Rail service.

Rohan Kuruppu, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

For Planning Director Rohan Kuruppu, planning is about accomplishing a desired future. “We are one of the fastest -growing regions in the country. It is our responsibility to ensure we have a state-of-the-art transit system that is efficient, safe and reliable while meeting the area’s economic and environmental goals.”

Anna Rahtz, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Project manager, Anna Rahtz, works with cities and developers to ensure we have a good balance  between land use planning and transit planning. It is critical to have the right balance of housing, jobs and activities along our transit corridors. Intensity and density of activities drive ridership. Anna’s current projects include bus stop improvements as well as the San Bernardino Transit Center. She likes the fact that her work has a strong positive impact on her community. Anna is also a frequent bus rider and takes the bus to  local meetings whenever possible.

Scott Begg is a Planner I specializing in mapping and spacial analysis. His day typically centers on Title 6 analysis, Geographic Information System (GIS) work, smart mapping, and statistical and route analysis. Scott believes that mapping and spacial analysis provides an important overview of people, businesses, neighborhoods and other statistical information. His work helps connect people with jobs and other critical destinations.

As a Planner II, Brenda Ramirez analyzes our routes, tackling challenges like realignment, crowding, requests for service and sub-recipient monitoring for human service transportation agencies. Currently Brenda is working on the proposals for Omnitrans fare modifications. She feels the best part of her job is knowing that people can get from their homes to their destinations efficiently and safely.

Jeremiah Bryant is our resident data geek and service planning manager. He uses the statistics, mapping and route analysis provided by Scott and Brenda to analyze geo-spacial relationship demands to see where service needs are greatest. He must balance ridership demands and customer experience with financial constraints and available resources. Jeremiah also does peer analysis, ridership forecasting and responds to customer and city inquiries.

Planning intern Alvaro Gomez works on grants, research and writing projects. He grew up in this area and feels that working at Omnitrans gives him greater insight into the policies, development and economy at work in the San Bernardino Valley.

Administrative secretary, Tembi Morales, makes sure the office runs smoothly. She handles the daily office operations, purchase orders, requisitions, invoices and documents. Tembi also oversees the setup and preparations for meetings hosted by the department.

Omnitrans planning, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Together, the planning team is constantly reviewing the needs of our ridership and looking for ways to continue to grow and optimize Omnitrans service while maintaining  low fares. Each plays an essential role in providing the detailed information and analysis that will maximize our budget and resources.

sbx map and planning department, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

To meet the region’s growing demand for faster and sustainable transit options Omnitrans works to design the most optimal service in partnership with the cities, county and the FTA. As a result, our sbx Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) express service is scheduled to begin early next year along one of the highest volume transit corridors in our system, a 15.7-mile span between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda. This sbX corridor will include 16 art-inspired stations at key university, government, business, entertainment and medical centers as well as four park-and-ride facilities.

Rohan Kuruppu, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

The sbX 60-foot articulated vehicle is a full 20-feet longer than our regular fixed-route buses. Each will hold 41 passengers and have a standing capacity of 65. Our sbX BRT vehicles with operate in their own dedicated bus lane and offer optimized service with fewer stops and more frequent runs.  For a closeup look at some of  the premium features of the sbX BRT, click here.

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 Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org