Category Archives: Rider Profile

How sbX Saturday Service Benefits Local College Student

For college students living on a tight budget, the cost of having a car can get a little steep. Luckily for Dominique E., Omnitrans and sbX rapid transit are at his service!

“I started riding Omnitrans in 2018, mostly to get to and from friends’ houses,” says Dominique. “These days, I use it mostly to get to school, work, and home. As a student at Valley College, I prefer the free ride. The bus gets you to and from your house and I can’t complain about that!”

With a nominal semester fee, Valley College students receive unlimited rides on Omnitrans through the GoSmart program, which Dominique says is a great benefit. Every day, he skates to the CSUSB platform where he rides sbX downtown to connect to Route 1 and get to campus.

“I’ve never been late to any of my classes,” he reveals. “I always plan ahead, so I typically have extra time to get to where I need to be. The biggest benefit I’ve received from riding is that transportation is not a strain on my wallet. It’s a big ease, especially as a student.”

Recently, sbX service expanded when Saturday service launched in January 2019. Having fast and frequent transportation on Saturdays has been a major advantage for Dominique, who lives near CSUSB and works at the Inland Center mall – both popular destinations along the sbX Green Line.

“sbX Saturday service has probably been the biggest leg up,” he says. “There is only a slight schedule change on weekends, but other than that, it’s a straight shot to work. It’s been huge, especially when it comes down to last-minute shift pick-ups. Before, I had to decline shifts on Saturdays, but now I can cover them and get to work quickly on sbX.”

While in school, Dominique has discovered his interest in talking with people and building relationships. He looks forward to transferring to Cal State University San Bernardino to get a bachelor’s degree in public relations and doing what he loves to do for a living – connecting with others.

In the meantime, he will continue to pursue his newfound hobby – photography – and riding the bus to class every day. “If I didn’t have the bus right now, I probably wouldn’t be able to go school,” he says. “I really appreciate Omnitrans. Without the reliable transportation, school would definitely be a bigger challenge.”

New Colton Resident Benefits from Travel Training Program

The Omnitrans Special Transportation Services team recently had the pleasure of working with Robert through its Travel Training program. Robert, a new resident of Colton, was interested in visiting the 5th Street Senior Center in San Bernardino for the various social and recreational activities they offer.

Initially, Robert had a friend who was able to drive him to the senior center, but he eventually realized that he needed to find an alternate mode of transportation.

Robert reached out to Omnitrans and learned about its services, including the Travel Training program. Through his time in the program, Robert has learned about our bus system and the various connections he can make at the San Bernardino Transit Center. Such connections provide him access to other cities throughout the region.

While training, he learned about proper passenger etiquette on the bus, crossing streets safely, and the importance of asking for help from our friendly drivers. Robert also learned how to use the official Omnitrans app on his smartphone, which allows him to get real-time arrival information and trip planning assistance when riding Omnitrans.

Having successfully completed the Travel Training program, Robert has reliable transportation that he can use for all his needs, including going to the senior center and taking care of other personal errands. With his newfound knowledge and confidence, Robert is enjoying the freedom to travel independently throughout our community.

The Travel Training program is available to seniors and individuals with disabilities who would like to learn how to ride the Omnitrans bus system for the first time. For more information about the program, contact the Special Transportation Services department at (909) 379-7341 or visit Omnitrans.org.

Written by Ruby Sulca, Travel Trainer

Long-time rider works toward teaching dreams with help from Omnitrans

It is possible to navigate the Inland Empire without a car! Just ask Favian C., a long-time Omnitrans rider living in San Bernardino.

Every day, Favian rides his bike to the bus stop, where Omnitrans connects him wherever he needs to go, primarily to work at a local elementary school, where he is currently a teacher’s aide.

“I don’t own a car right now, so it’s convenient to ride the bus. I mostly go to work and back home. Occasionally, I ride to meet up with friends after work or on weekends, so I’m happy that sbX now runs on Saturdays. I’ve been riding since it launched in 2014, so I look forward to riding it on the weekend,” he says.

Favian has been an Omnitrans rider for six years, having lived in San Bernardino, Colton, and Redlands his entire life. The improvements and enhancements to our system since then have made riding the bus a viable transportation option for him.

“I remember the old bus stop hub near the Regal Cinema, before the San Bernardino Transit Center opened. It’s been a major help having everything in a centralized location now. Navigating and transferring is much easier, and the transit center makes a positive difference in the community.”

With the help of NexTrip real-time bus arrival information on the Omnitrans mobile app and bike racks on the buses, Favian can manage his time wisely while saving money on car expenses as he readies himself to go back to school next year. He has his sights set on California State University, San Bernardino.

“I will be going back to school at Cal State University, San Bernardino within the next year, so I know riding the bus will make a big impact in my education. I used to attend The Art Institute, so I know about the GoSmart program that allows students to ride free.”

Currently, Favian assists elementary school teachers in the classroom and works individually with 4-5 students per day. “I tutor the students who need the most help, which can be a challenge at times. Some may not want to do the extra work, so my job isn’t only to tutor, but also to motivate and inspire.”

“Since high school, I’ve wanted to become a teacher because they have the power to make a positive impact in the community. I would like to positively impact future students the same way my teachers impacted me,” he says.

“I love what I do. It does not feel like work. If you do something that you truly love, it hardly seems like work at all.”

Omnitrans express services save long-time commuter money on driving expenses

San Bernardino resident and Omnitrans commuter Wendy.

Every day, gas prices seem to be on the rise, and when you’re commuting to and from work daily, the pump totals start to leave a dent on your bank account. This is the exact reason why born-and-raised San Bernardino resident Wendy Stevens rides the bus to Riverside for her daily commute to work.

When gas prices skyrocketed up to nearly $5.00 per gallon in the late 00’s, Wendy made a change and started to ride Omnitrans to get to work in downtown Riverside. Wendy’s employer, a state agency, reimburses her up to 75% on her bus fare expenses! “My employer made it easy to start riding the bus because they’re really big on promoting rideshare,” says Wendy.

Wendy discovered the convenience and value of ridesharing when she and a group of coworkers approached their designated rideshare representative at work to learn what their options for ridesharing were. They found that carpooling and riding public transit would be the easiest forms of rideshare for them.

At this point, Wendy has been riding with Omnitrans for 10 years, and saves an average of $80 per month just for parking fees, plus additional savings on gas, when she rides with Omnitrans. She is an avid “ridesharer,” and when she does not ride the bus, she carpools home with a coworker.

Freeway Express Route 215 connects Downtown San Bernardino and Downtown Riverside via I-215 Freeway, with limited stops for fast and convenient commuter service.

As a multi-modal commuter, Wendy combines more than one ridesharing option. She starts out her commute by taking advantage of the conveniently located and well-lit Park and Ride lots on E Street. From there, she leaves the driving to Omnitrans by catching sbX and transferring to Freeway Express Route 215, which takes her to downtown Riverside. On her commute home, she mixes it by sometimes carpooling with a co-worker.

Omnitrans’ flexible bus schedules have made it even more convenient for Wendy’s commute. Because her work schedule varies, Wendy is able to take advantage of the span of service hours. Her word of advice to riders: plan ahead and arrive at the stop minutes before the bus arrival time to make sure you are on time.

Wendy is also familiar with Omnitrans’ mobile fares (available on the Token Transit app) and often uses it to pay for and manage her bus passes. She likes that by going paperless, she is joining many other riders who are focusing on being environmentally conscious with a digital pass on their smartphones.

“It’s really convenient because we are all so connected to our phones these days. What would we do with them? We freak out when we don’t have them,” she laughs. “With the Token Transit app, we don’t have to worry about losing the paper pass or having exact cash.”

Mobile Omnitrans bus passes are sold on the free Token Transit app.

Customer feedback, opinions, and suggestions are valued by Omnitrans, and Wendy makes sure to let us know how we’re doing via email updates. She also appreciates the interactions with our drivers and San Bernardino Transit Center customer service staff.

“I like the friendly relationships I’ve created with the staff,” she shares. “One in particular is with Lydia, a now retired driver, and the Route 7 driver in the evening. The bus drivers over the years have been courteous and that means a lot.”

When Wendy isn’t commuting with Omnitrans during the week, she enjoys spending time with her three children, cheering on the Dodgers, and gardening. Wendy has also extended her transit-riding into the weekends, and hopped on the Dodger Express Metrolink train, down to Union Station in Los Angeles, connecting to Dodger Stadium to catch a game.

Inland Empire newcomer connects from Omnitrans to Metrolink with ease

Moving to a new town can be overwhelming. You seek to get quickly acclimated to new surroundings, find the best nearby food and shops, and Yelp away to find the perfect stylist who can be trusted with your hair.

For Omnitrans rider Maria, not only was moving to the Inland Empire from Los Angeles a major adjustment in and of itself, she also needed to learn an entire new transit system that would get her where she needed to go.

“It’s a different atmosphere compared to Los Angeles,” says Maria, reflecting on the past year living in San Bernardino. “Transit is very different. Here, when you board, the drivers wait for you to sit down before taking off. Back in L.A., they don’t have time to do that for every rider! Life is a lot more tranquil out here.”

Being a transplant to the IE who chooses to leave her car at home, familiarizing herself with Omnitrans was at the top of Maria’s checklist. She was pleased to learn from her daughter that the official Omnitrans mobile app was a resource that would help her embark on this new journey.

“The Trip Planner on the app provided me with step-by-step routing information to reach my favorite destinations, such as the Inland Center mall and San Manuel Casino. A fellow rider also tipped me off about the Bus Book and taught me how to view the maps and read the schedules,” says Maria.

She goes here, she goes there, she goes everywhere. Maria even rides on dates with her boyfriend, who takes advantage of the veteran discount rate offered by Omnitrans.

Although I can drive a car, I prefer not to. Omnitrans moves me and gets me wherever I would like to be. Truth be told, the timing is nearly always accurate to what the schedules state. I enjoy the day pass, because I can ride the local routes as well as the sbX Green Line. It’s very comfortable and the drivers are very nice.”

As a busy freelance worker who does embroidery on wedding gowns, Maria  commutes five to six days as far as Pasadena for work.

The extension of Metrolink to the San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC) from the Santa Fe Depot has been a valuable service enhancement to people like Maria who commute west into Los Angeles.

“I feel much safer at the transit center, especially at night time, because there is brighter lighting. I’m surrounded by others who are riding the bus and the train, and there is more security staff patrolling here. I also save time by not having to ride a second bus to the depot to catch my train. Now, I can just walk a few steps to the train platform from my bus stop!”

Maria’s livelihood requires great attention to detail – meticulously placing rhinestones on gowns, sewing bustles that add the right amount of volume to a train, and making alterations to perfect a bride’s special day. It’s a great thing to be able to relax and wind down on the way to work with an easy commute.

“Omnitrans bus service is very reliable and hassle-free. For example, yesterday, I walked to the store with my daughter for a couple of things. When we checked out, of course we’d gotten more things than we’d originally set out to,” says Maria with a laugh.

“Because of all the groceries, and the heat that day, we looked for the next bus arrival on the app and quickly were on our way back home, in the air-conditioned bus, instead of walking.”

Passenger gains new lease on life through biking and riding

From racing as a teenager growing up in San Bernardino and Highland, to riding to and from class as an adult, bicycling has been a life-long hobby for eight-year Omnitrans passenger Adrian. A fun, leisure activity has since evolved into a practical mode of transportation that has made a meaningful impact in his life, and we are pleased to have been along on his ride.

“I used to bike race when I was younger,” Adrian tells us while waiting for Route 4 at the San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC). “I stopped when I got a car and started working. At 43, I needed a career-change and I began taking courses at San Bernardino Valley College.”

“Because of the unlimited student rides with GoSmart, I started riding again regularly. When Omnitrans started allowing bikes on the bus, it made getting around so convenient. I can go anywhere that I want now without walking!”

This was not always the case. Suffering from high blood pressure, Adrian was told that living past 40 was not possible. He refused to become dependent on the drugs that regulated his heart disease, and was determined to make a change that reunited him with his passion – bikes.

“I used to weigh 260 pounds,” recounts Adrian. “I quit drinking and started to make changes toward becoming healthier. I thought, ‘Wait a minute.’ I used to love riding and racing mountain bikes. I straightened myself out and thought about what I used to do before all this mayhem,” he says.

Adrian now studies water supply technology at Valley Colleges and is interested in a career at a water plant. He is drawn to the scientific aspect of the field, the job stability, and flexibility. Riding the bus helps him complete assignments before class or squeeze in extra study time before an exam.

“Sometimes I ride the 11.5 miles from my house to Valley College, but if I need to relax, or read an article before class, I do that on the bus ride,” says Adrian. “By the time the bus arrives at the transit center, I am done and ready to ride over to class.”

Adrian takes advantage of low-cost bike maintenance at the Bike Hubitat at the SBTC. Using skills learned along the way, he now helps friends with their own bike maintenance and has become an enthusiast of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance.

“It can get very pricey to maintain bikes,” says Adrian, who enjoys giving back to the cycling community when he is not with his teenage son or working toward his educational goals. “I’ve taught myself to work on them myself. The Bicycle Hubitat here at the SBTC also helps me with bike repairs, so I don’t have to waste money on expensive tools that I’ll only use one time.”

Adopting this alternative mode of transportation definitely has contributed to the betterment of Adrian’s life. He credits biking for bringing some of his youth back into his life and keeping him active and focused. His health has improved, and he even was successfully taken off of high blood pressure medication! “I’m grateful that Omnitrans has been a part of that journey,” he says.

“Now, when drivers on the road cut me off, or yell at me to get out of the way, I always end up catching up to them at a red light and look at them through their window. The look on their faces is pretty funny, as if they are asking themselves – ‘how did he catch up to me so fast!?’” he laughs.

CSUSB student rides Omnitrans to stay active, avoid parking costs

Jose S. of Rialto has been riding Omnitrans and sbX for four years while working toward his degree in Sociology at California State University, San Bernardino. Even when he used to drive a car to class, Jose preferred to leave it at the free Park & Ride lot at Palm & Kendall, and shuttle down to class on sbX, only a five-minute bus ride to campus.

“Doing this helped me save money on a parking permit and, although for some people it may not be expensive, it also saved me time. Finding parking at such a large university can be pretty hard, even with your parking permit. My first year here, finding parking was easy, but now, when I skate by the parking lot, people will ask me if I am leaving so that they can follow me and take my parking spot,” he laughs.

Those student drivers’ hopes and dreams of snatching that parking space and making it to class on time are crushed when Jose tells them that he’s simply riding his skateboard to the sbX platform.

“Because of GoSmart, I don’t have to pay every time I board. All my money usually goes to school, or food, so it’s neat not having to pay. I’m hyped that I have my student ID card to ride Omnitrans wherever I need to go,” he explains.

“The drivers are sociable and friendly. I appreciate that if I start a conversation, they will engage with me. I also like the features such as the online trip planner and NexTrip text message capability to know how long it will be until your bus arrives. It’s almost always precise, never off by more than a minute.”

Jose got in touch with us via Instagram a few weeks back, where he reached out regarding our student internship opportunities. On his page, he showcases action-packed videos of he and his friends skating and skillfully performing tricks at skate parks.

“This is what I love to do. It’s my passion. Almost 10 years ago, my mom bought me a toy skateboard from Wal-Mart and when we visited my mom’s friend in Fresno, her kids with years of experience got me into skateboarding. I took a spare board that was in their garage since mine was slow compared to theirs, and that’s how I got into it,” he shared with us.

Riding Omnitrans isn’t just for school or work – Route 22 also gets Jose to the skate park where he can live out his passion and stay active. Even his friends have joined in on the fun and convenience of riding Omnitrans to the park. Jose says they were surprised by how different riding the bus was from what they thought.

“Route 22 takes me from my house right to the front of Ferguson Skate Park, which is so convenient. Route 14 takes me to the other skate park in Fontana. I would’ve never thought there would be so many bus stops to my destinations besides school,” he says.

Skating to and from the bus stop not only combines his favorite hobby with transportation, but it helps Jose relieve the stress of college life, especially during final exams. “It’s my form of meditation. Even a simple short ride from class to the bus stop can clear my mind,” he explains.

“I just enjoy riding my skateboard to the bus. This probably sounds weird, but I love the feeling of pressing the yellow strip to request a stop because we’re approaching my destination!” he jokes.

Monique Benefits from Mobile Fare Send-A-Pass Feature

Monique of San Bernardino has been an Omnitrans rider for about six years, but has a newfound appreciation for Omnitrans thanks to our paperless bus fare partnership with Token Transit. Being able to pay for her bus ride with her smartphone was convenient, but the ability for others to send a bus pass to her smartphone is what truly helped her in a recent time of need.

“It has been about six months now without any income, so it’s been tough trying to get to job interviews without bus fare,” shares Monique, who was in between jobs when we spoke. “I had people who wanted to help me out, so I emailed Token Transit and asked if there was a way for people who live out of state to help me pay for my bus passes.”

Much to her delight, Monique was informed of the Send-A-Pass feature available on Token Transit, which allows you to send bus passes digitally to any Omnitrans rider using only their mobile phone number. The bus passes cost the same, and there is no additional fee for gifting a bus pass to somebody else through their phone number.

“Token Transit responded to my e-mail right away and sent me a link. I posted the link on my Facebook page, along with my phone number. It was a private post visible by my friends only, and by the time Token Transit followed up with me, two people had already sent me mobile bus passes on the app.”

With this feature, pass buyers don’t need to be near the recipient to personally deliver a physical bus pass. Token Transit mobile fares allow people anywhere to send a digital pass to an Omnitrans rider’s smartphone, no matter the distance, digitally with a debit or credit card payment.

“Buyers have the option to get a single ride pass, day pass, 7-day or 31-day pass, any pass that is offered by Omnitrans. From my house to downtown San Bernardino it’s a one-seat bus ride, so even the single ride pass was a big help,” explains Monique.

“I’m with a staffing agency, and yesterday, for example, they called me in for an interview and I had to stop by the agency first, and then head to my job interview. I used NexTrip on the Omnitrans app to let me know when the bus was arriving, along with the Token Transit app. It just takes a lot of the stress off of you.”

Monique is pleased that with the power of social media, smartphone technology, and generous friends, Omnitrans mobile bus fares made life a little easier while on the job hunt. With her access to Omnitrans, she has been able to expand her potential job opportunities.

“I am very happy with the service, especially the Freeway Express routes because they broaden the area that I can search for jobs in. I also like the new connections here at the San Bernardino Transit Center, especially with the RTA CommuterLink Route 200. I like going to Downtown Disney to watch a movie now that the express bus connects here.”

Days after our chat at the San Bernardino Transit center, Monique contacted us and let us know that she had just accepted a great job offer! She looks forward to using her mobile bus passes to get to work every day. Congratulations, Monique!

Long-time rider benefits from the SBTC’s newly augmented regional connectivity


Cynthia, 62, of San Bernardino is a long-time rider who has dedicated herself to caring for seniors living with disabilities. She relies on Omnitrans to get to her clients every day – a choice that she feels good about each time her bus zooms by cars stalled in traffic on the freeways.

“I have my driver’s license, but I choose not to drive. I ride the Freeway Express and just watching all the people stuck in traffic – that’s enough for me to not want to drive a car! Riding the bus is much more convenient,” she shares with us while waiting for Route 215 to depart at the San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC).

“I know a lot of drivers from my years of riding Omnitrans, and the majority have been very nice. They treat us, the passengers, with respect. I’ve never been on a bus where a driver was recklessly driving,” she shares of her experience with Omnitrans drivers. “They know what to say, what not to say, and I appreciate that. You have to admire their patience in working with the public.”

Omnitrans’ express routes and the regional connectivity at the SBTC make mobility easy for Cynthia. Commuting to work is a simple ride on her local route to the SBTC, where she connects to Freeway Express (Route 215 for Riverside or Route 290 for Ontario, her two primary work destinations). Cynthia is also benefitting from the recent Metrolink extension to Downtown San Bernardino, now stopping at the transit center.

“I love the [San Bernardino] Transit Center, and to have the Metrolink trains coming here now – I am loving it! I’m feeling so spoiled!” she gushes. “Now I only catch one bus to the transit center and I can go see my mommy in Los Angeles. It was a really good idea to connect the trains to the transit center. It makes it easier, not just for me, but for other bus riders that I used to see down at the 3rd Street depot. They now can connect from the bus to the Metrolink here at the transit center. It has made travel so much easier for us.”

Cynthia is also a student. On Tuesdays, she attends class at a local adult school in San Bernardino. Riding our traditional fixed route system after work would make her late to class, which is why sbX rapid transit is a great solution for her.

“sbX takes me right to class after work. I got to get to work and school on time, so I love all the fast stuff!” she says about Omnitrans’ express services and sbX.

Although Cynthia has been part of the Omnitrans community for the past 10 years, she wants to purchase a car this year. That won’t keep her from riding, though. Cynthia will only drive to our Park and Ride lot at the SBTC and still take advantage of the benefits of riding public transit.

“I will still ride the bus to go shopping, to the grocery store, to the movies. I’ll take Omni everywhere I need to go.” The Route 215 driver approaches the bus, ready to depart, and an energetic Cynthia takes out her bus pass. “Oh, we got to go now!”

 

 

 

Mobile fares enhance the Omnitrans experience for commuter

Isaiah of San Bernardino, California has been riding Omnitrans less than a year, but in his short time doing so, has already discovered the plentiful benefits that public transportation provides to riders.

It was a chance encounter, when Isaiah was experiencing car trouble one day. Needing a ride to get to work in Ontario, Isaiah knew that the bus was available as an option, so he visited Omnitrans.org for the latest schedule and has since been making his weekly commute on Omnitrans!

“I’ve only been riding for a few months, but riding the bus is cool! It’s affordable and provides reliable transportation to work during the week. The drivers are very nice and patient with everybody. It’s been really good to me,” he shares with us while waiting for the bus at Ontario Mills one afternoon.

Monday through Friday, Isaiah hops on Freeway Express Route 290 at the San Bernardino Transit Center and gets off at Ontario Mills where he transfers to Route 61 for a short connection to his job site. “Traffic can be pretty stressful at this time of the day, but Freeway Express 290 is great because it can go in the carpool lane and it has limited stops which makes commuting less troublesome.”

Isaiah loads his activated bus pass on his smartphone to show the driver upon boarding Omnitrans.

The Omnitrans passenger service that Isaiah has enjoyed most recently has been our introduction of mobile fares via the Token Transit app. “I get a 7-day pass every week on Token Transit. It’s neat to be able pay with your phone and not have to worry about always having exact cash. I always had to have $18 cash to pay the driver for a pass, but having the mobile fare option has made riding so much easier because I can easily buy the pass with my debit card. And, you don’t need to worry about losing your bus pass, either, because it’s always in your phone.”

Isaiah would like to get a new car soon, but that doesn’t mean his journey with Omnitrans will have to come to an end. “Honestly, when I get a new car, I will continue to take the bus and leave my car at home during the week and only drive on the weekends. It’s more convenient because you don’t have to sit through traffic or spend more money on gas,” he reveals of his future transportation plans.

He also plans to enroll in classes at Valley College in San Bernardino, where he will be entitled to unlimited rides with our GoSmart program for students!

“I’d never ridden the bus before; I just looked up the bus schedules online one day when I needed a ride because my car broke down. I’d never had a reason to ride, but now I would recommend it to others, honestly. It’s affordable, reliable, and saves money,” says Isaiah as he boards Freeway Express 290 to head back home at the end of his work day. See you on the bus tomorrow, Isaiah!