Category Archives: Uncategorized

New coach simulator offers intriguing possibilities

Thanks to a federal grant, Omnitrans is in the process of acquiring a state-of-the-art coach simulator tailored specifically to real life agency vehicles and routes.

Thanks to a federal grant, Omnitrans is in the process of acquiring a state-of-the-art coach simulator tailored specifically to real life agency vehicles and routes.

The Omnitrans Fleet Safety & Training team is in the process of acquiring an impressive new tool to their arsenal. Thanks to a federal grant, they plan to be training new coach operators on the premises soon, using a state-of-the-art coach simulator tailored specifically to real life agency vehicles and routes.

“This is the next wave of technology,” says Fleet Safety and Training Supervisor Don Frazier. “It will bump our training up to a whole new level and save the agency a lot of money. Right now it costs $90 an hour to run a bus. Putting a student on a coach simulator doesn’t cost the agency anything. It’s an excellent defensive driving tool and will allow us to test the reaction times of student coach operators. The system can also be hooked up so that other students can observe the driver in the simulator as part of the learning experience. Normally this technology costs between $130,000 to $200,000, but we would get it for $20,000—which we are working to cover with a federal grant. It’s an incredible opportunity for us.”

Omnitrans Fleet Safety & training instructor Christina Diaz demonstrates the old coach simulator

Omnitrans Fleet Safety & training instructor Christina Diaz demonstrates classroom tools currently used in training

The simulator is currently being programmed by our partners at Cal State San Bernardino, who will use the data collected by the simulator to develop future transit training technologies and traffic studies. They will also adapt the simulator to replicate an actual Omnitrans coach. It will be set up with everything the bus would have: wheel, gas pedal, brake pedal, wheel, emergency brake, etc. It will also have the feel of a regular coach, providing the same feel of the road, and tug of the wheel when making turns.

A student sitting in the coach simulator will be surrounded by three screens, one in the front and one on either side. The images on the screen show all the details that the coach operator would see in each window in real-life, complete with rear view mirrors that capture what is going on alongside and towards the back of the vehicle.

Cal State San Bernardino will use data collected by the simulator to develop future transit training technologies and traffic studies.

Cal State San Bernardino will use data collected by the simulator to develop future transit training technologies and traffic studies.

“In addition to mimicking our regular routes, the simulator will also be programmed with emergency situations that will help us prepare student coach operators before they ever get on the road,” explains trainer Christina Diaz. “Scenarios will include things like sudden stops, getting cut off in traffic, unexpected pedestrians, bicyclists, right and left turns and pulling into a passenger zone.”

The idea is to get students comfortable with the coach and routes and prepare them for difficulties they may encounter in a safe environment. It builds their confidence and helps them to develop good habits and quick reflexes. Because the rest of the class can observe each student in action in the simulator, it becomes a valuable group teaching tool as well, creating the opportunity for questions and discussion.

omnitrans new coach simulator

“We’re very excited by the possibilities the new simulator opens up for us,” says Christina, “Normally when we train on live vehicles, we have to pull a coach from service to practice with. And even though the students are all on board and take turns driving, it’s hard for the entire class to really see what’s going on in the front driver’s seat at any given time. The new simulator saves money, reduces service down times, gives students more ‘on the road’ experience and enhances the overall quality of our training.”

- Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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San Bernardino Downtown Farmshare & Market a perfect sbX lunchtime destination

San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis purchases fresh produce from a vendor - photo by Juno Kughler Carlson

San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis purchases fresh produce from a vendor

Located on the corner of E and Court Streets beside the sbX Civic Center Station, The San Bernardino Farmshare and Market is held every Thursday between 11:00 and 2:00. It’s the perfect lunchtime destination, and the sbX BRT Green Line can get you there!

California Sunshine Kitchen offers delicious homemade jams and jellies

California Sunshine Kitchen offers delicious homemade jams and jellies

Sign up for the Farmshare or purchase local certified farm fresh produce, delicious cheese, olives, jams, jellies and preserves.

Coyote Produce Stand offers an incredible $3 fruit bowl

Coyote Produce Stand offers an incredible $3 fruit bowl

Enjoy lunch from food vendors such as:

  • Mad House Gourmet Hamburgers & BBQ
  • Mi Casita Tacos
  • Family Fusion – Teriyaki Specialties
  • Sunshine on Wheels – Breakfast Burritos & Sandwiches
Mia Casita Tacos

Mia Casita Tacos

Prices are excellent with most meals ranging around $5 – $6.

A shopper admires crystal windcatchers from Henry and Ellen Wilson

A shopper admires crystal windcatchers from Henry and Ellen Wilson

Many gift vendors are also on hand selling things like Etsy scents, boutique items, crystals, windcatchers, Avon and Tupperware products, and much  more.

The crowd enjoys lunch at the San Bernardino Downtown Farmshare and Market

The crowd enjoys lunch at the San Bernardino Downtown Farmshare and Market

Hop aboard sbX and enjoy the luxury of rapid transit. Help revitalize San Bernardino,  support local farmers and vendors, and enjoy healthy farm fresh options at the same time. Make the San Bernardino Downtown Farmshare and Market a regular addition to your weekday routine!

Lulu's Boite de Bijoux features hats, purses, aprons, jewelry and accessories

Lulu’s Boite de Bijoux features hats, purses, aprons, jewelry and accessories

Check out our Flickr album to view more photos of this fantastic sbX destination!

San Bernardino Downtown Farmshare and Market

Prepare for the new fares. Buy now, save later!

Buy Omnitrans bus passes before fare changeOn September 2nd, Omnitrans fares will increase for the first time in five years. But you can save money now by purchasing extra passes in advance!

Because there will be no change to the actual look of our bus passes, any passes you currently hold will continue to be honored after September 2nd.  It’s a great opportunity to stock up at the lower price!

Once the fare change goes into effect, the price of a one-way bus trip will increase from $1.50 to $1.75 while the 1-day pass rate will rise from $4 to $5.  A 31-day pass will go from $47 to $55.  See the fare table for full rates and details. 

 omnitrans new fares

sbX Coach Operator Steven Newton

Omnitrans sbX coach operator Steven Newton

For coach operator Steven Newton, 2014 has been an eventful year: a Valentine’s Day wedding, a new baby—and a new job as an sbX coach operator!

“I’d always wanted to drive the Artic [articulated coach], but I didn’t want to make the 30 mile commute to San Bernardino,” Steven confessed.  “It was my wife who finally made me decide to apply to be an sbX driver.  With our new baby, she needed me home on the weekends.”

omnitrans sbx coach operator steven newtonSo Steven put in for the position. He had been with Omnitrans for 7 years, and for the last two had been working relief shifts 7 days week on the west side. He felt he had a pretty good record but knew there was also a lot of strong competition for those jobs.  When he found out he made the cut, he was excited.

“I like these vehicles a lot better. The turning point radius is really no different from a 40-footer.  They run smooth and command a different respect on the road.  Passengers are pleasant, although with sbX  I don’t have as much interaction with them since they enter from the rear doors.  I just really need to focus on driving. The hardest part of the job is watching for motorists. It’s a very different experience.”

Because all the sbX drivers came in at the ground floor at the same time and shared the same training and experiences, Steven says they’ve become like family. They understand the challenges of the job and support each other and help out wherever they can.

Omnitrans sbX Coach Operator Steven Newton“Most of us see this as the stepping stone to the revitalization of San Bernardino County,” said Steven. “It starts with the City of San Bernardino and will grow as sbX spreads to more areas. I like the long term plan. They want to bridge the Inland Empire to Los Angeles.  To me, that’s the best move you could make because so many people commute from here to LA and vice versa. The train can only do so much. We’ve got the buses that bridge, but that’s a 3-4 hour bus ride as opposed to an express service that could take you right to downtown LA. There could even be something on the 210 that could get you to Pasadena. These are the ideas the company is trying to bring forth. It’s creating more jobs, more opportunity, and more room for promotion.”

Steven says overall passenger reaction to sbX has been positive.

Omnitrans sbX coach operator Steven Newton

“People respect us. A lot feel we are trying to make things better, especially up at the college.  I had some kids get on the bus recently who asked if I could hold off for a moment because they were doing a school project about the sbX and wanted some pictures. I was like, wow. Go ahead. It made me feel good to know that I was a part of their education. We are helping the community. It’s not just about making money. We’re making a difference. That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re public servants. We’re supposed to help people who might be less fortunate than others who do have the means, you know. That’s what it’s all about. It may not be perfect. It may not put you in the parking lot, but we’re going to get you where you need to go.”

Steven’s baby boy Ian is now 5-months-old, and he loves being able to devote his weekends to his family.

“It’s a long commute during the week,” he admits. “But I’m so used to it now it just comes and goes. It doesn’t really bother me anymore. Life is blessing me right now and I have a lot to be grateful for.”

- Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans sbX coach operator graduates

Omnitrans sbX coach operator graduates

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Hot weather safety tips for bus riders

omnitrans coach operator Debra Molloy

With summer heating up, it’s important that public transit riders take extra precautions to stay hydrated and cool.  Below are a few travel tips and a list of local cooling centers that can help.

Start your day fully hydrated. Always carry water with you and drink it regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid liquids containing a high amount of sugar or caffeine. Cold water is your best choice for keeping cool. Try freezing a water bottle the night before to carry with you the next day.

Protect your skin by wearing a good sunscreen. Preventing direct sunlight from hitting your head can help you stay cool. Create your own shade by using a small umbrella or wearing a hat. 

Wear lightweight, light colored clothing to help ventilate the body and block the sun. Avoid non-breathing synthetic clothing which can trap heat and cause you to overheat.

Try to plan your travel for early morning or in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Use NexTrip real time bus arrival info to reduce wait times at the bus stop.

Local Cooling Centers:

Ruben Campos Community Center – 909-384-5421
1717 W. Fifth Street, San Bernardino, CA 92411
Monday-Thursday  10:00 am – 6:30 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Anthony Munoz Community Center:  909-933-3596
1240 West 4th Street, Ontario, CA 91761
Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Served by Routes 61, 65 and 80

Bloomington Branch Library:  909-877-1453
10145 Orchard Street, Bloomington, CA 92346
Monday, Tuesday 12:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, Friday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Served by Route 19

Carter Branch Library:  909-854-4100 ext. 28148
2630 N. Linden Avenue, Rialto, CA 92377
Monday–Thursday 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Served by Route 22

Rialto Senior Center:  909-877-9706
1411 S. Riverside Avenue, Rialto, CA 92376
Monday-Thursday  8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday  8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Served by Routes 19 and 22

Chino Hills James S. Thalman Branch Library:  909-590-5380
14020 City Hall Drive, Chino Hills, CA 91709
Monday–Thursday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday  10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday  1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Served by Routes 365

Chino Senior Center:  909-591-9836
13170 Central Avenue, Chino, CA  91710
Monday-Saturday 8:00 – 8:00
Sunday  10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Served by Routes 65 and 68

City of Fontana – Jack Bulik Teen Center:  909-349-6983
16581 Filbert Street, Fontana, CA 92335
Monday-Friday  3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Served by Route 20

City of Upland – Magnolia Recreation Center:  909-931-4100
651 West 15th Street, Upland, CA 91786
Monday-Friday  8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday  8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Served by Routes 66 and 67

San Bernardino Transit Center Update

San Bernardino Transit Center Construction

Behind the tarped fences at the corner of Rialto Avenue and E Street, construction crews have been hard at work on the highly anticipated San Bernardino Transit Center. The project is managed by San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG). Parsons Brinckerhoff oversees the construction and the contractor is Kemp Brothers Construction. (Click photos for larger versions)

san bernardino transit center construction

Funding for the $21 million project is primarily from the Federal Transit Administration, as well as the Federal Highway Administration and state and local funds through SANBAG.

Construction of the facility is moving along on schedule and the grand opening will be held in mid-2015.

San Bernardino Transit Center artist rendering

The Transit Center will be a state-of-the-art facility our entire region can take pride in.

  • 7,500 square foot building
  • LEED Gold Certified
    • highly energy efficient design and systems
    • drought tolerant landscaping.
    • 22 bus bays—includes space for neighboring transit agencies like MARTA, VVTA, others.

San Bernardino Transit Center artist rendering

Features for the public include:

  • Customer service and pass sales office
  • 24/7 on site Security as well as security cameras
  • Ticket vending machines and ATM
  • Electronic message signs with real time arrival info
  • Restrooms
  • Seating and shelter
  • Bike racks
  • Way-finding signs

San Bernardino Transit Center artist rendering

Omnitrans operations on site include:

  • 5 full time employees (Customer Service, Operations)
  • 100s of bus drivers who will pass through each day
    • Space for them to take a lunch break, use the restroom, etc.
    • Also space for facilities maintenance equipment, lost and found, etc.

san bernardino transit center plan

Another key feature of this location is that there is room to grow. The most valuable portion of the property, from a development perspective, is left open for development:

  • Corner of Rialto and E street
  • Approx. 2 acres
  • Prime location for retail and office space

With 8,000 people a day passing through, this Transit Center is going to be a tremendous asset for our community.

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Reviving Passion challenges others to pay it forward

Reviving Passion’s goal is to get every person to find their passion and use it to give back to their community. Even if it’s just in a small way, everyone can make a difference.

For their first project, the guys surprised sbX BRT riders by paying for their bus passes. Sound awesome? You bet! Watch the video to see what happened next.

You can support Reviving Passion’s pay it forward project by watching and liking their video, subscribing to their channel and sharing with your friends ( hashtag #yougave).  Their project depends on people watching and clicking, so the more you watch the more they give! 

How will you revive your passion and give back to others?