Bus stops open during Route 215 detour

Interstate 215 North/South will be closed between Iowa Avenue and Barton Road every Friday and Saturday in April. Hours of closure will be between 11:30 p.m. and 11:30 a.m. the following day.

Omnitrans Route 215 buses will detour from freeway travel during this time, but all stops will remain open, including the stop at Centrepointe and Mt. Vernon in Colton.

For more information on the 215 freeway closure, visit the CalTrans website http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist8/projects/san_bernardino/devore2/index.htm

Omnitrans bus detour map for 215 freeway closure

Two bus stops added to Ontario Route 61

Two bus stops added to Omnitrans route 61Due to the long term temporary construction in Ontario on the Route 61 on Vineyard Avenue between Holt Boulevard and Airport Drive, two bus stops have been added to Omnitrans Route 61.

EASTBOUND
Stop ID #8327
Holt @ Guasti nearside
(In front of the Radisson Hotel)

WESTBOUND
Stop ID #8328
Holt @ Guasti farside
(In front of Convention Center)

New Flyer Ontario Facility Grand Opening

Congratulations to our friends at New Flyer on the grand opening of their Ontario facility today! We were able to take a tour of the building and see the New Flyer crew in action as they worked their magic. We thought you’d enjoy this look behind the scenes  at the event. Photos and captions courtesy of Wendy Williams.

You can read more about the grand opening on Metro’s The Source.

Local dignitaries and community leaders gathered to celebrate the launch of New Flyer’s final assembly facility in Ontario

Mayor pro tem of Ontario, Omnitrans BOD chair, Alan Wapner, welcomes New Flyer, and 50 employees/jobs to the city.

An sbX vehicle was on display during the New Flyer facilities tour.

The Omnitrans maintenance team touring the New Flyer Ontario facility

New Flyer employees installing seating components.

New Flyer employees pose after a seat installation

Buses arrive “empty” without seats and stanchions.

The New Flyer water test area, where buses are checked for leaks

Omnitrans Director of Maintenance Jack Dooley with with New Flyer team members

Priority seating area on an LA metro bus.

Additional photos added 4/3/2014
courtesy of New Flyer:

New Flyer Ontario Facility Grand Opening and Tour

New Flyer Ontario Facility Grand Opening and Tour

 

Omnitrans rider, veteran & leatherworker Ed Miller

Ed Miller with his prizewinning leather belt and holster

Longtime Omnitrans rider Ed Miller is a Vietnam War veteran, a talented leather craftsman and a recovering addict who is helping other vets in their struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. His story is an inspiration to anyone who thinks it’s too late to change their life.

In some was the deck was stacked against Ed from the beginning. When he was just an infant, his mother used to put alcohol in his bottle to quiet him and get him to sleep. His father was also an alcoholic. But it wasn’t until he received a “Dear John” letter during the Vietnam War that he started drinking heavily and began using opium. By the time he was discharged, he was completely addicted.

“For 43 years, my only focus was on how to get more dope and more alcohol,” admits Ed frankly. “It’s amazing that I still have any mental capacity after that. I drank and smoked my family away.”

Finally in 2006, Ed hit rock bottom. He devised a detailed suicide plan but decided to attend one last therapy session at the Loma Linda Veteran’s Administrantion Hospital. Psychiatrist Richard Newman took one look at him and knew that this was it. He asked Ed just one question. “Do you really want to change your life?” And Ed said yes.

“I quite cold turkey and never went back,” says Ed. “I got into the AA program, and it was like a little light bulb went off in my head. Hmmm . . . I have a choice. Do I want to fall asleep or pass out? Do I want to wake up or come to?”

“My life is very different now. I used to have to lock my stuff into a car to make sure it would still be there. At night I would pass out on my [drug] connection’s couch. Now I get to go home to where I live and enjoy it.”

Two years into his recovery, Ed joined a leatherworking class with Steve Nicholas at the VA hospital and discovered he had a gift for leather tooling and design. His intricate creations have earned him a well-deserved reputation among his peers. He is the current vice president of the Leather Artisans Guild of California.

In February, Ed competed in a veterans’ arts & crafts show and took home three first place awards for tooling, stamping and leather kit. He and the other first place winners now face a second elimination round. The final Gold Winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to Milwaukee where they will go on to compete on the national level against other veterans.

A collection of some of Ed’s leather work

Although he is passionate about his art, it is giving back to other vets that means the most to him. Three mornings a week he volunteers for Project Save at the VA, where he serves as a living example of what’s possible when you decide to turn your life around.

“About 50% of these guys come into the program because they are on parole or probation or have a court date coming up. I tell them they can wait around like me for 43 years, or they can change their lives now and enjoy the time they have ahead of them. If you were a civilian, you would have to pay over $10,000 to be in a 30-day recovery program like this. And it’s not hard to do. You just have to be honest with yourself–no more excuses–and follow along with what the facilitator tells you to do.”

Ed believes that Omnitrans provides a critical service for vets, especially those in the recovery process. “A lot of young vets in the program have had their cars impounded or mom and dad are tired of giving them money for gas and insurance. With the bus, they can’t say their car broke down or that they can’t afford the gas.  There are no excuses. They can attend program and get where they need to go without a big expense. It makes everything possible for them.”

Ed himself has been an Omnitrans rider for 3 ½ years and says it keeps him connected to his community. “Coming home I get to listen to the younger guys complain on the bus,” he chuckles. He sometimes shares his own observations with them that put it all in perspective.

“When you get past the complaining and the excuses, that’s when you have the power to change your life,” he says. “You just have to want it.”

- Juno Kughler Carlson
Have a great Omnitrans story to share?  Let us know! Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org 

A symbol of pride: Ed’s leather stamp

Omnitrans Hosts Successful SBE/DBE Workshop

90% of participants ranked event as very good or excellent. 

On March 18th, Omnitrans hosted a “How to Do Business with Local Transit Agencies & DBE/Small Business Workshop.”

Eighty-nine small business enterprise (SBE) and disadvantaged business enterprise  (DBE) vendors attended the event to learn tips on how to better position their companies to earn government awards. It also gave them the opportunity to network directly with representatives from several local transit agencies including Sunline Transit Agency, Metrolink, Mountain Transit, Foothill Transit, Riverside Transit Agency, Riverside County Transportation Commission, Victor Valley Transit Agency and SANBAG.

“We were thrilled to be able to connect with so many local businesses,” said Omnitrans Director of Procurement Jennifer Sims. “Omnitrans is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent DBEs from participating on federally assisted and locally supported contracts and procurements. ”

On October 3, 2012 the Omnitrans Board unanimously approved expanding Omnitrans’ DBE program to include a Small Business Enterprise  provision to foster SBE participation.  The agency is committed to doing business with the companies who provide the best value, regardless of ethnicity, gender or business size. Increased competition and right sizing projects result in lower overall costs to the agency and promote the local economy.

Companies interested in doing business with Omnitrans can find out more by visiting our website at www.omnitrans.org and clicking “Bid opportunities” in the top right corner.

Ceremony To Celebrate Big Win for sbX

sbX PROJECT PARTNERS CELEBRATE COMPLETION
On April 22nd, Omnitrans and project partners from San Bernardino and Loma Linda will come together  to celebrate the completion of the sbX Green Line – the Inland Empire’s first-of-its-kind bus rapid transit (BRT) service. The 15.7-mile line between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda marks the start of a new era of intermodal public transit for the region. Launching sbX is a big W-I-N for Omnitrans!

PUBLIC INVITED TO RIDE FREE DURING LAUNCH WEEK
Don’t miss out on being one of the first to ride sbX! Mark your calendar for Start of Service April 28, 2014! Service will run from 6:00 a.m. to 8:50 p.m. and Omnitrans sbX ambassadors will be at station locations along the corridor during the first few days to help you Get on Board!

Kelly Koehler
kkoehler@westboundcommunications.com 

Construction Ends, sbX Service Launches April 28

Whether you have been following sbX construction since the groundbreaking or are new to learning about the service, we’ve got great news to report! The Omnitrans sbX Green Line Bus Rapid Transit Service launches this month, connecting riders to key destinations between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda. To prepare for start of service on April 28, 2014, construction crews and project management have been busy finalizing items such as fine-tuning electrical components at station locations and at intersections with Traffic Signal Prioritization, keeping up with landscape maintenance, installing various safety features such as railings to prevent jaywalking, and restriping select roadway along the corridor.

For the most part, minimal construction activities are limited to daytime hours between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Traffic control has been lifted along the corridor and you may notice some 60-foot sbX buses driving alongside you at times. As a reminder, buses are being tested and are on the road daily. Important to note, even though construction is winding down, public outreach representatives are still available via the project helpline at (855) SBX-NEWS (729-6397). We’re on board to answer your construction and service related questions until May 2014.

- Kelly Koehler
kkoehler@westboundcommunications.com