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Employee of the Quarter, April-June 2017

Getting passengers who face challenges and obstacles every day to trust you is no easy task. Elizabeth White has learned that her gateway to building a trusting relationship with clients is to initiate a sincere connection with a genuine smile. There is always a common bond that you have with another human being,” she says. “You have to find that link and use that to relate to somebody.”

The Omnitrans Board of Directors recently presented the Employee of the Quarter award to Elizabeth, who has “has excelled as primary Travel Training bus presenter, promoting special transportation programs and the entire Omnitrans family of services to senior citizens and people living with disabilities in a way that is easily understood and generates interest.”

This quarter, Elizabeth has been an exemplary employee, receiving numerous commendations for her success in connecting with diverse groups of people. She conveys the passion she has for empowering her Travel Training clients to ride the bus and reclaim independence in their daily lives. This has resulted in increased ridership and pass sales revenue for Omnitrans, and a fruitful manifestation of our agency’s mission to connect our community.

Employee of the Quarter Elizabeth White (second from left) with (from left) Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey, Board of Directors Vice Chair Pat Gilbreath, and CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham.

Elizabeth has been with Omnitrans for a year and three months as a member of the newly established Special Transportation Services (STS) department. Previously, she was employed by Vtrans, a defunct agency that operated special transit programs in the region.

Her experience spans far beyond this, however, with years of professional and personal understanding of her client base. “I’ve worked with people living with disabilities for over 20 years,” she reveals. “When I was in high school, I was part of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), where I was involved with the Special Olympics. I have grown up around cousins who are disabled, so it’s always been a passion of mine to help people with disabilities.”

Working with a cause that is near and dear to her heart, it is no surprise that Elizabeth has achieved positive results in her job. In her daily work, Elizabeth is able to channel her genuine desire to help people unlock their potential as lead presenter of the Travel Training bus, a program started by the Marketing department in 2012 to introduce new riders to public transit in a controlled but realistic environment.

After the group presentations on the Travel Training bus, individual trainings take place with potential new riders. “We have a waiting list of people interested in one-on-one training. I go out and do an assessment with them during which I make sure they can physically get to and from the bus stop. I also make sure that they are emotionally able to ride the bus; because it can be stressful for someone with disabilities to be inside the bus and feel as if they’re trapped.”

“I do the routing for them, I teach them how to read the bus book, how to use the Omnitrans app to do their own trip planning in the future, how to buy our passes, how to use the passes on the bus, and, once training has progressed far enough,  I make sure they can ride on their own. If they can, then that’s great and we’re finished.”

Elizabeth with fellow team members of the Special Transportation Services department.

STS clients are people who have lost or never had the freedom to self-sufficiently transport themselves. The mission for our Travel Trainers is always to empower the individual to get out and regain the power to ride public transit to school, work, or other destinations.

“I always tell people that STS’ goal is to keep people as independent as possible for as long as possible. We don’t want people to have to depend on someone else, so if they can ride the bus and get where they need to go, they regain the independence that they may have lost after an accident, when they lost their car, or whatever their situation may be.”

Although the ability to ride the bus may seem insignificant to some, it is infinitely noteworthy to others. Travel Trainers like Elizabeth are positively impacting lives every day. To their clients, learning to ride the bus or regaining that ability gives them a sense of autonomy and accomplishment, which to Elizabeth, is the most rewarding part of her job.

“[Passengers] feel so appreciative that they’ve figured out how to ride the bus because we helped them. To know that I changed someone’s life, even if just a small aspect of their lives – transportation – that is something that can open up an entire world of possibilities for someone who is disabled or a senior.”

Of late, Elizabeth has been instrumental in working with a four-complex senior housing development in Fontana. After presenting to 70 residents, they learned that Route 82 provided a one-seat ride between any of the four complexes and the Social Security Administration office in Fontana, a popular destination for them.

As a result of these presentations, seniors that participated in travel trainings have begun riding the bus and managers have invested in monthly bus passes for residents. Her work in the field has generated a new source of pass sales revenue, increased bus ridership, and an expanded network of opportunities to partner with other organizations to promote Omnitrans.

The work Elizabeth does for the STS Team and Omnitrans is valued,” says Director of Special Transportation Service Doug Stanley.  “As evidenced by the numerous commendations I receive from those she gives group bus demonstration presentations to, she is not just well thought of by the seniors and persons with disabilities we serve, but they are also appreciative of her attitude, demeanor and ability to connect. The key is to know your audience – and she does.

People who are not familiar with Omnitrans’ fixed route system do not realize how simple it can be to ride the bus to reach common destinations in our service area. It is our duty to disseminate that information and to make people aware. Then, they realize how easy it has been all along to reach their destinations via Omnitrans.

“That’s what our presentations do,” explains Elizabeth. “My goal is always to inform people and change negative perceptions that people may have about riding the bus. We want them to know that we care that their riding experience is pleasurable and that it’s a success for everyone when they ride the bus.”

2017 Hazard Mitigation Plan

Omnitrans is in the process of updating its 2011 Hazard Mitigation Plan (Plan). Mitigation plans are regulated by the federal government through the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. They are required to identify the natural hazards; however Omnitrans has opted to also include human-caused and technological hazards within our service area in order to be more aware and better prepared for a broader range of hazards. The Plan provides a list of mitigation action items that will be used to reduce the impacts from the identified hazards.

Part of the mandated approval process for the Plan requires the authoring jurisdiction to share the draft plan with key stakeholders and solicit comments during the “plan writing phase”. Click here to view the 2017 Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Should you be interested, feel free to review the Draft Plan and share any comments with us by August 31, 2017. After that date, we will move forward with the Draft Plan as it is written if there are no comments.

Thank you in advance for your time and assistance with this project. We look forward to reading any comments that may come our way. If you would like more information on the 2017 HMP, please contact Security & Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Mark Crosby at (909) 379-7117 or e-mail him at safety@omnitrans.org.

Dailey New Chair of Omnitrans Board, Gilbreath Vice Chair

New Omnitrans Board Chair Ron Dailey.

(San Bernardino, CA)   Loma Linda Council Member Ron Dailey takes the helm of the Omnitrans Board of Directors on July 1, 2017.  Redlands Council Member Pat Gilbreath was elected Vice Chair at the June 7 Board meeting.  Both will serve a two-year term. 

Dailey succeeds outgoing Board Chair Sam Spagnolo, Mayor Pro Tem of Council Member of Rancho Cucamonga. The 20-member Omnitrans Board consists of the five County Board of Supervisors and elected officials representing each of the 15 cities Omnitrans serves.

“Omnitrans plays an influential role in our community” said Dailey, “Everyday, we safely transport thousands of people to work, school, shopping, medical appointments, recreation and back home again.  By adding express service and improving regional connections, we are working to make public transit a more attractive transportation option for all.”  

Dailey joined the Omnitrans Board in 2010, and served on the Board’s Administrative & Finance Committee in 2010 and 2011 and the Plans & Programs Committee from 2011 to present. He was first elected to the Loma Linda City Council in 2010.  Dailey is Dean of the School of Dentistry at Loma Linda University, where he has worked since 1975.

Gilbreath was on the Board from 2000 to 2007 and again from 2014 to present, and served as Board Chair from 2005 to 2007. Gilbreath also has a seat on the Board’s Administrative & Finance Committee. She was first elected to the Redlands City Council in 1993 and is a businesswoman with over 30-years as a certified public accountant.

Dump the pump, ride freeway express free on June 15!

Omnitrans is inviting you to DUMP THE PUMP on Thursday, June 15, 2017! National Dump the Pump Day is a day to highlight the many benefits of using public transportation. Leave your car at home on this day and take advantage of our FREE ride coupon to use on any of our three Freeway Express routes.

It is fact that public transportation:

  • helps people save money on vehicle maintenance and other expenses. Did you know that a two-person household can save, on the average, $9,823 a year by downsizing to one car?
  • has a proven record of reducing congestion and travel time. In 2011, U.S. public transportation use saved 865 million hours in travel time and 450 million gallons of fuel in 498 urban areas.
  • reduces gasoline consumption and carbon footprint. One person with a 20-mile round trip commute who switches from driving to public transit can reduce his or her daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds, or more than 4,800 pounds in a year.

Great! I look forward to dumping the pump and riding Omnitrans. How do I get a hold of the free ride coupon?

Look no further than the official Omnitrans app! The app can be downloaded from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.

INSTRUCTIONS: Simply install the app, select the Free Ride tab on the menu bar, and present to the bus driver upon boarding the bus. 

The coupon is valid only on June 15th on Freeway Express Routes 208, 215, and 290. One per customer. No cash value. No print coupons will be accepted.

Give us your feedback for a chance to win!

Your feedback is crucial to our growth as an agency. Let us know what you think about the Omnitrans experience and you could win one of five prizes!

Click here to complete the survey  |  Haga clic aquí para completar la encuesta

Omnitrans and several other mid-sized agencies in North America form the American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG), established in 2011 to measure performance and share best practices. The information gathered from your surveys this spring will help provide a comprehensive overview of the bus rider experience nationwide.

Take the survey by the end of the day on May 21, 2017 to be entered into a prize drawing for a gift pack including:

  • One $20 Target gift card
  • One full-fare 7-day bus pass

Thank you for providing your constructive feedback and participation.

Omnitrans detours scheduled in Chino this Saturday

Due to this year’s Corn Feed Run Car Show & Cruise in Chino this Saturday, April 8, 2017, a few Omnitrans routes will be affected for the day. The following routes will slightly detour around the event which take place at the Chino Civic Center. These detours will be in place throughout all of Saturday – plan your trips accordingly and use NexTrip on our mobile app to keep up with real time bus arrivals!

Route 88, southbound from Riverside

  • Right on Third
  • Left on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Route 81, southbound

  • Continue straight past Central
  • Left on Third
  • Left on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Route 83, southbound from Central and Edison

  • Left on Edison
  • Right on Monte Vista
  • Right on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Route 84, from Mountain and Riverside

  • Right on Riverside
  • Left on Third
  • Left on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Route 85, southbound from Central and Riverside

  • Right on Riverside
  • Left on Third
  • Left on Chino
  • Left into the Chino Transit Center
  • Reverse northbound

Coach Operators recognized for safe driving record

The Omnitrans Million Mile Club has welcomed new drivers to its ranks! Fourteen coach operators are recognized this year for their achievement in safely driving 25,000 hours without a preventable accident, a feat that is accomplished over the course of 12 years. One driver has completed 50,000 driving hours over 25 years without a preventable accident, making them a 2 million mile club member.

From left to right: Salvador Soto Luna, Antoinette Meza, Jerry Milton (2 Million Mile), Michael Morrow, Dagoberto Perez, Elizabeth Samaro, Clarissa VanDyke.

“To put into perspective what each new member of the elite Million Mile Drivers Club has accomplished, consider the miles driven,” says Assistant Transportation Manager Mike DiFonzo. “The circumference of the earth is 24,901 miles. Each driver drove an equivalent of 40 trips around the earth without a chargeable accident or safety violation. What an amazing accomplishment!”

From left to right, are: Manuel Acosta, Kathleen Havey, David Castillo, and sbX driver Juan Miranda.

Each driver was presented with a special plaque, jacket, hat, belt buckle, certificate of recognition, a silver name plate, a day off with pay, and $500. Our 2 Million Mile driver also received a bonus five-day cruise to Mexico including paid time off!

Our congratulations go to these drivers for setting the standard of excellence. We are grateful for their commitment to safety as they connect our community.

1 Million Mile Coach Operators

  • Manuel Acosta
  • David Castillo
  • Kathleen Havey
  • Antoinette Meza
  • Juan Miranda
  • Michael Morrow
  • Dagoberto Perez
  • Earl Roberts
  • Elizabeth Samaro
  • Salvador Soto Luna
  • Dennail Sweatt
  • Jackie Sweatt
  • Wendell Taylor
  • Clarissa Van Dyke

2 Million Mile Coach Operators

  • Jerry Milton

To view more photos of our 2017 Million Mile Club inductees, click here.