Category Archives: Rider Profile

Stress-free traveling with Omnitrans bus service to ONT airport

On this sunny day in October, Michael W. has just arrived in Ontario from Charlotte, North Carolina after visiting his 92-year-old father. Rather than drive his car to the airport from his house, which is less than 5 miles away, he decided to take Omnitrans, now serving Ontario International Airport every 15 minutes, seven days a week.

“The bus stop is located just steps from my front door in Rancho Cucamonga,” he tells us. “The location offers perfect commute opportunities for both my wife and me, for both work and pleasure.”

Although Michael does travel to and from LAX, just under 60 miles away from home, he prefers the ease of connecting to Ontario International Airport via Omnitrans public transit. When he chooses to travel out of LAX, he starts out riding Omnitrans to the Montclair Transit Center, connects to Metrolink, and rides to Union Station where he hops on the Flyaway shuttle to the airport.

When he and his wife flew to Hawaii on vacation last year, this was how they traveled.  “It was one of the most stress-free beginnings to a vacation that I’ve ever had,” he shares.

Currently, Michael is employed by the County of Riverside in the Environmental Health Department, HAZMAT Division.  He has worked there for the last decade and is a retired Naval Officer. “I love my job, and can’t believe that they pay me to do what I do,” he says.

His wife currently attends pharmacy school in Claremont, and is completing an internship in Thousand Oaks. On the weekends, he will meet her for lunch, using public transit the entire distance.  His favorite thing is to catch Omnitrans Route 66 and connect at the Montclair Transit Center.  There, he boards the Metrolink to complete his trip.

He often connects to popular L.A. destinations using the Metro Expo Line. He mentions the Museum of Natural History and the annual book fair. “There’s so much to do in L.A. and it’s so easy to get to,” says Michael.  “I look forward to exploring even more destinations.”

Michael has two months left until he transitions into retirement. He has his sights set on achieving two goals: auditing as many classes as possible at Chaffey College, getting there by riding Omnitrans (of course!) and selling his car and relying completely on public transit.

He has a rolling suitcase and a briefcase, maneuvers it with ease when the bus arrives at the airport terminal, and heads home after his flight. Here’s to many more happy travels aboard Omnitrans in the next stage of your life, Michael!

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 still a great solution for life-long rider

Every day, we cross paths with hundreds of people as we transport them around the San Bernardino Valley. We have the opportunity to connect with our riders in a unique and rewarding way, making us part of each other’s daily lives. Sometimes, we even get to watch our riders grow up right before our eyes!

Such is the case with Brandy, a college student who has been riding Omnitrans since she was just a youngster.

“I’ve been riding Omnitrans pretty much my entire life,” she tells us while waiting for her bus at the San Bernardino Transit Center. “When I was in the sixth grade, my mom started taking me on the bus with my twin sister. We ran errands, went out on weekends and rode to church on Sundays. From there on, I started taking the bus. It’s been part of my life since then.”

Though she’s now an adult, Brandy continues to navigate through life with the help of her old friends at Omnitrans. “I moved to Redlands, went to high school, and had a daughter. [Omnitrans] has been my method of transportation through all these stages in my life.”

Brandy is currently a college student working toward her career goal of becoming a medical assistant. She will complete her program in about three months. Even though Brandy and her fiancé share a car, she prefers to avoid car trouble by riding the Freeway Express Route 215 to Riverside every day that she has to attend class.

While Brandy plans to drive a car in the future, she will always be thankful to Omnitrans. “It provides me transportation for now while I am in school. It makes everyday tasks easier, such as going to the grocery store. Not only that, but on the weekends I am able to ride with my daughter to my fiancé’s house to swim in the pool or barbeque,” she tells us.

“I’m so used to riding the bus by now. It gets me where I need to be safely, and the drivers are very courteous. They’ve known me since middle school, so they’ve seen me grow up and become a mom,” she smiles.

Passengers like Brandy 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.

No Hill For a Climber

Sand Canyon Road, the steep, winding road that connects Yucaipa with Mentone and Redlands, is a favorite ride for local cyclists.  For Omnitrans rider and multi-modal commuter John Sciniasil of Yucaipa, it’s just the second stop in his daily commute.

Each morning just as the sun rises, John begins his commute on  his foldable bike which is small enough to fit under a train or bus seat!  And even though he combines different modes of ridesharing, like carpooling or catching the bus, he always has a bicycle with him.  “Some days I catch a ride with a friend to work,” said John, “But on the way home I ride my bike.”

John Sciniasil of Yucaipa, combines his love of bicycle riding with other modes of transportation, such as Omnitrans, as he commutes to work.

On the day we talked, John was riding Omnitrans and using a Dahon bike, one of five foldable bikes he owns.  Although it folds down, John takes advantage of the 3-bike capacity rack at the front of the bus.

“In New York City, you see a lot of these kinds of bikes,” said John.  “Here, it’s more rare.”

His favorite Omnitrans route is typically Route 19, where he disembarks at Wabash and Sand Canyon, and sails on into east Redlands to begin his day with the Water Department.

“It’s smooth sailing going in,“ said John.  “But I really like the challenge of going up the hill to go home, believe it or not.”

Freeway Express Route 208 was launched in May 2017, and connects Yucaipa, Redlands, and Downtown San Bernardino with limited stops via I-10.

But last week, John decided to give the new Freeway Express Route 208 a try.  The fact that the express route reduces travel time overall compared to a car is appealing to him, and allows him even more commute options in the future.  Route 208’s stop at the Redlands Mall is only 1.7 miles from the building he works in, which he says will be great.

John’s romance with bicycle commuting began two years ago during California Rideshare Week.  He decided to try carpooling, as well as the bus.  Incorporating his love of bicycles seemed to be a natural fit.

 “It’s a bit of a climb depending upon which road I take, but I enjoy that kind of workout,” said John.

Well, you know what they say, ‘No Hill for a Climber!’  Happy travels to you, John.

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.

Commuting with a Smile

When asked how often she rides Omnitrans, Katrina W. smiles. “I ride every day I go to work, so, that’s at least five days a week,” she enthuses.

The San Bernardino native commutes from the northern end of the city to her job in Redlands via Routes 7 and 8. “I like the bus drivers, and the convenience,” she tells us. “It’s a nice ride.”

She considers herself lucky to have a job in which she can make sure that her work schedule aligns with Omnitrans’ bus schedules, making transportation an uncomplicated task. On the rare occasion that she has to work late, she catches a ride home with a friend.

Katrina, who does not currently have a car, proudly uses public transit as her means of transportation because of the sense of independence it brings. “I don’t have to depend or wait for somebody else [to pick me up]. I know what time the scheduled bus is going to run by my house if I have to go to the store, doctor, whatever,” she tells us.

While some may be apprehensive about riding, Katrina doesn’t understand why some people are hesitant to use transit. “Some people are scared of riding the bus, or think they’re too good for it, but I always feel safe,” she says. “The bus is very reliable!”

We’re glad that Omnitrans helps people like Katrina by providing a safe, dependable, and enjoyable method to get around town. “No negatives about riding the bus,” says Katrina before departing from the San Bernardino Transit Center. “I enjoy it!”

Do you have a great Omnitrans or sbX story to tell? We are always looking for new riders to highlight in our blog. Let us know!

40th Anniversary Sweepstakes Winners Announced!

Last month, we reached an important landmark which you may have heard a thing or two about – our 40th anniversary! As part of our celebration, we gave away 40 prizes, one for each year that Omnitrans has proudly served the San Bernardino Valley.

Winners were chosen at random from our pool of 700-plus sweepstakes entries, and the grand prize winner of a $400 Visa gift card and twelve 31-day bus passes is Juan Perez of Fontana! Thanks to all who entered.

Juan Perez

Juan Perez of Fontana, the grand prize winner!

“When you first called me, I didn’t know who it was. I was at work and didn’t believe it,” Juan tells us of the surprise congratulatory phone call from Omnitrans. “After I heard the voicemail message and called back, then I thought ‘Okay, this is legit.’”

Juan first learned about the giveaway when he noticed the advertisement on an Omnitrans bus. We were pleased to know that he found out about the sweepstakes the “old school” way in an age dominated by digital and social media!

Omnitrans has been a part of the 28-year-old’s life for many years, tracing back to his days as a high school student, when he took the bus home after school. “I didn’t know all the routes back then, and I would end up getting lost sometimes,” Juan laughs as he reminisces.

These days, Juan rides Omnitrans when he and his brother feel like enjoying a day together at San Manuel Casino in Highland, or simply choose to leave their car at home.

“It’s helpful if you don’t want to take an Uber or drive yourself. It’s a lot cheaper than those options,” he says. “Or, if I want to have an [adult] beverage, I obviously don’t want to drive, and I feel safe riding Omnitrans.”

Juan is thankful to have entered the drawing, and the gift card will definitely come in handy for him this holiday season! “Thanks, Omnitrans for the prize and congratulations on your 40-year anniversary!” says a delighted Juan.

For the full list of our 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes winners, please click here.