Category Archives: sbx bus rapid transit

Employees of the Quarter, Keith Lembach and Dan Olaru

sbX Field Supervisor Keith Lembach believes that safety is not just the Coach Operator’s job – it should be everybody’s priority. It is his commitment to passenger safety that earned him the recognition of the Omnitrans Board of Directors as our Employee of the Quarter, in partnership with Body Shop Technician Dan Olaru.

“I always ask people, ‘How many people do you want to see injured today?’ says Keith. “If the answer is more than zero, you need to go home. It’s all of our jobs to promote safety.”

Employees of the Quarter Keith Lembach (center left) and Dan Nelu (center right) are recognized by (from the left) CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham and Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey at May’s meeting.

Prior to joining Omnitrans two and a half years ago, Keith had acquired 37 years of valuable transportation experience. This includes years driving private charter buses and trucks. As a trucker, he accumulated two million accident-free miles – a remarkable feat in safe driving.

Just prior to Omnitrans, Keith served as safety manager for a transportation company. Seeking to turn around their dissatisfactory safety record, the company asked him to takeover as director of the program.

A desired change in career led Keith to Omnitrans, where he enjoys being out in our service area and interacting with our drivers and passengers. “I enjoy that every day is different. You can’t script this job. Every driver is different, every passenger is different,” he shares.

While driving sbX one day, Keith heard a loud crash near the back of the bus. Immediately, he paused the bus and noticed that a bike had slid all the way to the front of the bus from the bike holding area.

“I walked back and told the passenger that the bike had to be secured onboard. He said that it had been strapped in properly, but that the Velcro straps weren’t strong enough to hold the bike and that it fell out of the storage area,” he explains.

sbX Field Supervisor Keith Lembach begins his day at 5:30 a.m., helping to start the coaches and monitoring bus pullouts as service begins for the day. He checks for mechanical and farebox issues and helps them get resolved as service on the street is a time-sensitive matter.

Keith methodically assessed the bike straps and noticed that they were worn out and unable to hold the bike in any way. During subsequent ride checks, he noticed bikes tipping, falling, or coming completely unstrapped out of the metal racks. He saw the potential danger to passengers and to their property, and took a proactive approach to mitigating the hazard.

“Keith came into the Maintenance office in the body shop and talked to the supervisors about the trouble that he’d run into on sbX with bike racks,” says Body Shop Technician Dan Olaru.

“They asked him to come see me. From there, we walked the bus and he told me what he wanted to achieve. About a week later, I started work on a prototype, which I finished in the same day. We installed it on a bus, and about a month and a half later we were ready to create bike racks for the entire sbX fleet.”

By trial-and-error, Keith and Dan determined the exact measurements of the new sbX bike storage racks. They readjusted heights several times to ensure bikes of all sizes fit without issue. Once the final prototype was tested, no matter how fast the bus accelerated or stopped, the bikes were not going anywhere.

Dan, a 20-year employee of Omnitrans and now two-time Employee of the Quarter, methodically employed his creativity and self-taught skill to design, build, weld, and install a new solution to better serve our bike-riding passengers. He used existing parts from the old bike racks and implemented them into the design of our new, unique bike racks, minimizing the cost of the project.

Dan works to repair minor damage caused to a panel on the rear side of the bus. After sanding the area, he will fill the dents and scrapes, smooth them, and prime the panel before adding a fresh coat of paint.

“In 1989, I was approved for a visa to move to the United States from Romania which was under communist rule,” reveals Dan. “When I arrived, I worked for an asphalt company and then was hired at Omnitrans in 1997. I knew a little bit about body work from doing that on the side, but this is where my skills got much better.”

Now one of two body shop employees, Dan recalls a time in which there were six workers in the body shop. “Whenever we had a little downtime, I used to practice,” he recalls. “I learned a lot of what I know over the years by observing others and asking the right questions.”

“Dan’s ability to install the new racks with minimal changes to the bus is a work of art,” says Maintenance Supervisor Keith Hunt. “Each time, Dan goes above and beyond what was asked of him. We truly appreciate his work ethic and can-do attitude!”

“It’s a different thing to take on every day – challenging things,” says Dan. “But I like that. The challenges are why I am where I am in my career today. I like to see things that I’ve created with my own hands be implemented and approved of by the people around me and by our passengers.”

Comfort Dogs Train Aboard sbX Rapid Transit

sbX riders in San Bernardino and Loma Linda were accompanied by some uncommon, but pleasant fellow passengers last week –  well-behaved comfort dogs who just wanted to brighten up someone’s day. And they did, for passengers and drivers alike!

A dozen adorable comfort dogs of all sizes, along with their handlers, met at the sbX Park & Ride on Palm and Kendall in north San Bernardino to explore the public transit environment. The ride took them to the south end of the sbX Green Line at the VA hospital to help the volunteer dogs become familiar with different scenarios that they may encounter in their work.

Rim of the World Comfort Pets, based out of San Bernardino County, is an organization that aims to promote health and improve the quality of life for individuals through animal-human interactions, animal-assisted activities, and therapy. Certified therapy animals work to “help heal individuals, elevate the professional standards in the therapy animal field, and promote the general cause of volunteerism,” according to the organization’s website.

“None of us in this group have been on the bus before. It has been about four years since we’ve been on Omnitrans. This is new to us, and we’re really excited and thankful that Omnitrans has allowed us to do this.” said Catherine Walker, a volunteer with the group who coordinated the training. “Those already certified to do work at the VA hospital currently park at the Park & Ride lot on Redlands Blvd. and ride sbX, so this is great practice for that.”

To become a certified comfort animal, dogs go through a training process in which they are familiarized with all environments where they may practice their work, including elevators, around statues, and of course, on buses. This exercise helped put the dogs at ease in large moving vehicles and around new people.

Ginger, a miniature Schnauzer, received the Pet Hero award in 2017 by the Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley. This year, another Rim of the World Comfort Pets dog was named Pet Hero 2018 – a golden retriever named Chelsea.

“This is great training because the environments that we go into have people on crutches, or wheelchairs, or making noises, so this teaches the dogs to not be scared by that because it’s not something that they may otherwise be exposed to every day,” explains Philip G. who was accompanied by his one-year-old labradoodle, Beau. Beau has already been certified, but still joins trainings – just for fun!

This was Beau’s first time on a bus, and he was a natural! “He loves to go for rides in the car, and this is basically a larger, noisier car!” said Philip.

The dogs and their handlers can be seen visiting veterans at local hospitals, in nursing homes for the elderly, and in elementary school classrooms throughout San Bernardino County, where they help children hone their reading skills by reading to a dog. This eases the pressure of reading to a teacher or a parent.

“Kids read more freely,” explains Catherine. “They’re more interested when reading to a dog versus an adult who may interject and correct their reading. From the kids’ programs, to working with the men and women who serve our country, there is a wide range of people that we interact with.”

For Beatrice’s owner, Deborah B., volunteering with Rim of the World Comfort Pets is a way of giving back after having moved to Rancho Cucamonga from New Hampshire. When her daughter was sick in the hospital, she recalls comfort dogs coming to visit and noticeably enhancing her child’s mood and quality of life during a taxing time.

Beatrice, a Basset Hound, is undergoing training to become a certified therapy dog in the coming weeks. Those puppy dog eyes will melt any dog lover’s heart!

“Our daughter would light up when the dogs came to visit,” says Deborah. “Ever since then, we’ve wanted to get involved. Beatrice has the right energy for this type of work, and we knew she was the right fit to help make a positive impact on sick children. We’re looking forward to going out and working with kids once Beatrice is certified.”

“The best part has been seeing Beau mature and be able to participate,” says Philip G. “We go to a lot of nursing homes where the elderly look forward to holding the dogs as well as to the VA where the vets really appreciate the dogs. To watch the people light up when we visit is pretty special.”

View more photos of the comfort dogs on the bus on Flickr. To support or learn more about Rim of the World Comfort Pets, visit them online.

CSUSB Coyotes ride Metrolink and sbX to class!

With Metrolink now connecting to Omnitrans and sbX in Downtown San Bernardino, Cal State University San Bernardino Coyotes have a seamless new way to get to class!

Check out the video below to see how Cody the Coyote and Maya, third-year biological psychology major, connect to sbX for a straight shot to campus after riding Metrolink into the downtown San Bernardino Transit Center.

They avoid traffic, parking permit fees, and squeeze in some extra studying time as they ride along and let Metrolink and sbX do the driving!

Visit MetrolinkTrains.com for train arrival times at the downtown San Bernardino Transit Center.

Omnitrans Extends sbX Service Hours

The sbX Green Line, the bus rapid transit line serving San Bernardino and Loma Linda, now begins service a little earlier in the morning, starting at 5 a.m., with extended service through 10 p.m. on weekdays!

The increased span of service makes commuting possible for those who work earlier shifts during the week, or for people who like to catch a late-night movie screening downtown.

“Longer hours on sbX help those working in the hospitality, healthcare and logistics industries,” said Omnitrans CEO P. Scott Graham. “Students taking evening classes and families wanting to take in a ball game or movie downtown will also benefit.”

Click here for updated route map, service frequency, and full schedule.

Guide to September 2017 Service Changes

The latest Bus Book becomes effective Tuesday, September 5, and we have a preview of the new service changes designed to enhance your Omnitrans experience!

The highlights include service every 15 minutes into Ontario Airport AND newly extended morning and evening sbX hours, along with minor enhancements to other local routes that will enhance connections and on-time performance.

Traveling to Ontario International Airport will now be easier than ever with Route 61 providing 15-minute service to the airport on weekdays and weekends. The two bus stops are located along Terminal Way at Terminals 2 and 4, just east of the baggage claim areas. Other popular destinations along Route 61 include Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario Mills, and the Ontario Convention Center. Route 61 also serves the Fontana and Pomona transit centers, making for great connectivity to the airport via Metrolink and Omnitrans.

sbX‘s Green Line, the bus rapid transit line connecting San Bernardino and Loma Linda, is also extending service hours on weekdays. The first sbX trip will now begin at 5:00 a.m., with service running until 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. This is good news for commuters and students traveling to destinations along the route. Now, you can take sbX to the early shift at work or catch a late night movie with friends! And, in case you didn’t know, there are four Park & Ride locations along the sbX route. They offer free, lighted parking so you can experience a multi-modal commute to get to work, school, or just for entertainment!

Minor service changes have been made to other Omnitrans routes as listed below. Click here for a preview of the new Bus Book, and don’t forget to plan ahead!

Affected Routes: sbX Green Line, 1, 2, 8, 15, 61, 66, 83, 88, and 215.

sbX: More morning and late evening service has been added.
Route 1: Run-time adjustments on all days.
Route 2: Run-time adjustments, weekdays only.
Route 8: A new weekday tripper to the Amazon Fulfillment Center has been added.
Route 61: Service has been added to Ontario International Airport. Schedule adjustments, all days.
Route 66: Runtime adjustments, weekdays only.
Route 83: A timepoint at Euclid and Holt has been added. Schedule adjustments, changes all days.
Route 88: Runtime adjustments, all days.
Route 215: Runtime adjustments, all days.


CLICK TO ENLARGE MAP

Please note the following bay assignment changes at the San Bernardino Transit Center:

  • Route 15 eastbound will stop on Rialto Avenue.
  • Route 15 westbound will stop on the south side of the transit center, next to the railroad platform.
  • Route 1 northbound will stop on the inside of the transit center. See page 15 of the Bus Book for more details.

METROLINK COMES TO THE SBTC
Metrolink service will begin at the San Bernardino Transit Center in the fall. For schedule and fare information, visit www.metrolinktrains.com or call 1-800-371-5465.

Ride sbX for views of the 2017 solar eclipse!

Word on the street is that something super exciting is happening this Monday, August 21st. Something about the sun…and the moon? Oh yeah, it’s the solar eclipse of 2017!  During a three-hour window, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, blocking all or part of the sun for up to three hours, something that has not been seen in the U.S. since 1979!

The rare occasion is surely a sight to be seen, and you can take part in the event easily with sbX rapid transit running every 10-15 minutes on weekdays. Our friends at Cal State San Bernardino (CSUSB) will set up solar telescopes and pinhole projectors on the CSUSB Library Lawn the morning of the eclipse, and visitors are welcome.

RIDE SBX TO VIEW THE ECLIPSE!
The eclipse begins at around 9 a.m. and lasts for nearly three hours, however, the best time for viewing will be between 10 and 11 a.m. Simply board sbX, ride northbound toward CSUSB, and avoid the hassle of parking and permit fees! There is a free Park-and-Ride at Kendall/Palm nearby, where you can leave your car and ride sbX to campus.

CLICK TO ENLARGE MAP

Don’t forget to tag @omnitrans in your astronomically stunning photos!

E St. voted Best Urban Street Transformation

This month, San Bernardino’s E Street was voted “Best Urban Street Transformation of 2014” on StreestsBlog USA. It was one of five streets nominated in the national Streetsie award competition and garnered an overwhelming 48% of the vote.

There is a lot to be proud of: dedicated bus lanes, beautiful landscaping, and sbX BRT stations with original art whose themes share the rich histories of our local communities. Ongoing events like the weekly Downtown San Bernardino Farmshare and Market and the monthly Third Thursday Food Fest (located by the E Street Civic Center Station) feature local farmers, vendors and food trucks to attract the city’s lunch crowd.

E Street has not simply molded the landscape of our city. It has created a renewed sense of civic pride as evidenced by the grass roots efforts of residents who rallied the community to vote in a show of support.

This New Year’s Eve, we are proud to celebrate the transformation of E Street and look forward to continued positive changes in 2015.

 

Zimbabwean student talks transit & sbX

Hunts Station photo by Juno Kughler Carlson

Cal State student Simbarashe Peresch at the sbX Hunts Lane station

Grand Terrace resident Simbarashe Peresch has been riding Omnitrans and sbX since he first arrived here from Zimbabwe on September 17th. He is currently enrolled at Cal State University San Bernardino where he is majoring in biology. Thanks to the Go Smart program, Simbarashe is able to get unlimited bus rides using his student ID. We caught up with him at the Hunts Lane station and asked what he thought about the sbX rapid transit line.

He told us he liked how quickly sbX gets him to campus. He was also impressed by the roominess, air conditioning and onboard Wi-Fi.

“It’s very different from Zimbabwe,” Simbarashe explains with a broad smile. “where I come from, we have much smaller buses that only hold about 15 people.  And it costs only 50 cents to ride!”

“Also I’ve noticed here that there is not that much of a distinction between cities,” he continues. “You can pass from Redlands into Loma Linda without knowing it. In my country there are vast lands of field between cities that separate them. You know immediately when you are out of town.”

He points to the art glass on the station windscreen beside him. “The designs of stations here are very beautiful too,” he grins. “Traveling here has been a very different experience for me. I very much like riding sbX.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Friends Ride Free Fridays on sbX

Friends Ride Free Fridays on sbX

Every Friday in October and November, paying sbX passengers can bring a friend along for free! Why? Because riding is always more fun with two!

It’s the perfect opportunity to grab a quick lunch along Hospitality Lane with a co-worker, take in a matinee with your child at the Regal Cinema , or do a little shopping with your best friend at Inland Center Mall.  Best of all, you don’t have to worry about traffic or parking.  You and your friend can simply relax and have a great conversation while enjoying the luxury interior of our sbX coach.

Pedro is a student and part time DJ, and his friend Lexy works at a local restaurant. They regularly travel together on sbX and say that it’s a very different experience from the normal Omnitrans coaches.

“You get a different type of rider on sbX,” says Pedro. “There’s a lot of professionals and students. It’s also fast. We save hours in travel time each day between all our trips.”

friends ride free fridays on sbx

Lexy nods, “True. It’s convenient because it stops close to most of the places we go to. And I like the outlets and free Wi-Fi.” She laughs. “I’m always looking for a place to charge my phone!”

So how does “Friends Ride Free Fridays” work?  It’s simple.

  • The free rider must be accompanied by an sbX passenger with a valid pass or proof of payment.
  • Both riders must board and exit together.
  • The offer is exclusively for our sbX Green Line service, and not good on Omnitrans, OmniGo or Access buses
  • Friends Ride Free Fridays runs through October and November 2014

So grab a friend next Friday and treat yourselves to a first class trip aboard sbX. You both deserve it! For more information visit our sbX page at http://www.omnitrans.org/services/sbx/ 

sbX BRT stations before and after

Here’s a quick look at the development of our sbX BRT stations before and after with photos and artist renderings. We’ve definitely come a long way!

Have you ridden sbX yet?  Tell us what you think.

 

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