Employee of the Quarter Steve Sisneros

When he is not at work, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Steve Sisneros basks in the serenity, calm, and quiet of the great outdoors. It is quite a contrast from the urban backdrop of his career at Omnitrans, the public transit provider in the dense, populous, and ever-growing San Bernardino Valley.

“Being out of the city, away from large crowds, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells in nature, standing underneath a waterfall is a rejuvenating experience that can’t be duplicated,” explains Steve, who developed an appreciation for nature in his childhood years, often camping and hiking with his father.

Disconnecting from the world recharges him to be his best, and it seems to cascade into excellence at work. Earlier this month, Steve was recognized by the Omnitrans Board of Directors as the Employee of the Quarter for April-June 2018 for his contributions to the safety and training operations of the agency.

“We are a large agency, with over 600 people, and the award is given four times a year. I did the math and thought ‘Hey, this is pretty cool!’ says Steve, who was surprised upon learning of his recognition. “It’s the second time our department receives this award in the past two years, so it’s nice and encouraging to see that our work is respected.”

A couple of years ago, Steve attended a Transit Instructor Networking meeting hosted by Long Beach Transit. He noticed high-tech, interactive whiteboards in their training rooms, which made training a much more enriching experience. Thinking proactively, he shared the idea of bringing this technology to Omnitrans with his supervisors and the purchasing process began shortly thereafter.

After a few months of shopping around, the new interactive whiteboards were installed in our training rooms, as well as in other departments throughout the agency. The whiteboards allow you to project your computer onto the screen on the wall, and users can draw, make notes, and highlight items on the screen with just the tip of their finger, similar to what sports broadcasters do on TV. This provides a more visually-stimulating teaching experience that incorporates technology and eliminates paper waste.

Aside from refining the training process in the classroom, Steve also completed the Department of Motor Vehicles Employer Testing program in Sacramento and became certified as an official DMV examiner for Omnitrans, saving the agency $85 per person in testing fees.

Steve, who did not have bus driving experience prior to joining Omnitrans 16 years ago, enjoys having a direct impact in passing down his knowledge to future generations of Coach Operators. Prior to joining the Fleet Safety & Training team four years ago, he was a Coach Operator Instructor for nine of his 13 years as a driver, responsible for guiding new operators behind the wheel and out in our service area.

“Our job is very hands-on, so during the training process we have to figure out how each person will best retain information. Will they learn visually via videos or through a hands-on approach? Someone can do really well in the classroom, then get behind the wheel and freak out,” says Steve.

“Others, don’t do as well in the classroom, but when they get behind the wheel are complete naturals. We have to observe how they are going to retain the knowledge and adapt a style to each individual person.”

(From left to right) Omnitrans Deputy CEO/General Manager Erin Rogers, Omnitrans Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Steve Sisneros, and Omnitrans CEO/General Manager Scott Graham at October’s Board of Directors meeting, where Steve was presented with his Employee of the Quarter award.

Steve’s techniques for effective training include a lot humor and relaying his personal experience as a driver to the trainees. He considers that one the best assets that he brings to the table. Having the experience to back up his words creates trust and credibility between student and instructor. Establishing trust is paramount when many trainees have never driven a 40 foot bus before!

“You have to empower them and let them know that the bus is not going to do anything that you don’t want it to do. Once we can get them past that point, they are able to implement the tools that we have taught them to safely operate the coach,” he says. “When you can relay anecdotes and real stories from your own experience, then it’s just a matter of time before it all falls into place and they gain confidence needed to drive the bus.”

Steve acknowledges that his success would not be possible without the support of his team. He genuinely loves what he does, and looks forward to retiring at Omnitrans when the time comes. To him, the career longevity of many of our drivers’ 25-plus year careers are a testament to the level of satisfaction that this work provides.

“On the days when the going gets tough, realizing that you’re helping that elderly lady get to the grocery store and those kids to get to school is important. Those are motivating factors and a nice reminder of the meaningful work that we’re doing,” says Steve.

Celebrating local art and community at the 3rd Annual SBTC Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest

Over 100 community members, artists, and transit-riders gathered at the San Bernardino Transit Center on Saturday, October 20, 2018 for a visual experience that took spectators “around the world” at the 3rd Annual SBTC Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest.

Twenty-three artists showcased their talents at the transit center this year, adorning the concrete sidewalks with chalk works of art reflecting the theme – A Trip Around the World.

“Since last year’s contest, the San Bernardino Transit Center has welcomed Metrolink and a Riverside Transit Agency connection to improve connectivity for San Bernardino area residents,” said Omnitrans Marketing Manager Nicole Ramos. “These partnerships with neighboring transit agencies open up the possibilities for travel destinations and experiences beyond the San Bernardino County region, and we wanted to integrate the transit center’s growth as a transportation hub in this year’s celebration.”

Contestants competed individually, and in teams of two or three, while kids enjoyed a free painting class by The Art Barn of Cherry Valley. HOT 103.9’s DJ Jeff Pope kept the crowd entertained with an interactive prize wheel, unique raffles, and the latest hits, of course!

After two hours of arduous handwork, three judges from the local arts community – including the City of San Bernardino Fine Arts Commission and San Bernardino County Arts Connection – came together to deliberate and choose the top three winners, which was no easy task.

3rd Place Winners

3rd Place: Rachael B. and Ashley J., winners of $100. The duo’s art featured an exquisitely-drawn hot air balloon revolving around a bird’s-eye view of the world. The “envelope” exterior of the balloon included several international flags.

2nd Place Winner

2nd Place: Vivian L., winner of $150. Vivian’s creation featured a vibrant, colorful drawing of the Earth as the focal point, with excellent chalk handwriting and a decorative paper plane in flight accentuating her design.

1st Place: Isaac R., winner of the grand prize of $300. A two-time contest winner (Isaac previously took home the top prize at the inaugural event in 2016), Isaac’s impressive masterpiece featured four skillfully contoured and blended profiles of cultural icons around the world including: A Renaissance sculpture, a Japanese samurai, the Day of the Dead “Calavera Catrina”, and Buddha.

“We love showcasing the talents of local artists and seeing the transit center serve as a community gathering place along with being a busy regional transportation hub,” said Omnitrans spokesperson Wendy Williams.

View more photos of the event on Flickr. Keep an eye out for information on next year’s event – we’d love to see your art grace the competition!

Veterans Ride Free on Veterans Day 2018

To thank and honor our veterans, Omnitrans will offer free unlimited rides to the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11, 2018. It is our way of saying thank you for your service.

Veterans may simply board with a Veteran ID card, indicating retired military status. The offer is good on any Omnitrans vehicle including sbX, Freeway Express, OmniGo community shuttles, and our local fixed-route buses.

Accepted forms of ID include those issued by US Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs, San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Veterans enjoy discounts throughout the year with our discounted Veterans Fare and bus passes. Required methods of proof of eligibility for such fare discount include:

  • County of San Bernardino Military Veterans ID card
  • US Department of Veteran Affairs ID card
  • Department of Defense retired ID card, or
  • a transit agency Veterans ID card

If you are a veteran and would like to apply for the San Bernardino County Military Veterans ID card, please click here to apply online.

Omnitrans express services save long-time commuter money on driving expenses

San Bernardino resident and Omnitrans commuter Wendy.

Every day, gas prices seem to be on the rise, and when you’re commuting to and from work daily, the pump totals start to leave a dent on your bank account. This is the exact reason why born-and-raised San Bernardino resident Wendy Stevens rides the bus to Riverside for her daily commute to work.

When gas prices skyrocketed up to nearly $5.00 per gallon in the late 00’s, Wendy made a change and started to ride Omnitrans to get to work in downtown Riverside. Wendy’s employer, a state agency, reimburses her up to 75% on her bus fare expenses! “My employer made it easy to start riding the bus because they’re really big on promoting rideshare,” says Wendy.

Wendy discovered the convenience and value of ridesharing when she and a group of coworkers approached their designated rideshare representative at work to learn what their options for ridesharing were. They found that carpooling and riding public transit would be the easiest forms of rideshare for them.

At this point, Wendy has been riding with Omnitrans for 10 years, and saves an average of $80 per month just for parking fees, plus additional savings on gas, when she rides with Omnitrans. She is an avid “ridesharer,” and when she does not ride the bus, she carpools home with a coworker.

Freeway Express Route 215 connects Downtown San Bernardino and Downtown Riverside via I-215 Freeway, with limited stops for fast and convenient commuter service.

As a multi-modal commuter, Wendy combines more than one ridesharing option. She starts out her commute by taking advantage of the conveniently located and well-lit Park and Ride lots on E Street. From there, she leaves the driving to Omnitrans by catching sbX and transferring to Freeway Express Route 215, which takes her to downtown Riverside. On her commute home, she mixes it by sometimes carpooling with a co-worker.

Omnitrans’ flexible bus schedules have made it even more convenient for Wendy’s commute. Because her work schedule varies, Wendy is able to take advantage of the span of service hours. Her word of advice to riders: plan ahead and arrive at the stop minutes before the bus arrival time to make sure you are on time.

Wendy is also familiar with Omnitrans’ mobile fares (available on the Token Transit app) and often uses it to pay for and manage her bus passes. She likes that by going paperless, she is joining many other riders who are focusing on being environmentally conscious with a digital pass on their smartphones.

“It’s really convenient because we are all so connected to our phones these days. What would we do with them? We freak out when we don’t have them,” she laughs. “With the Token Transit app, we don’t have to worry about losing the paper pass or having exact cash.”

Mobile Omnitrans bus passes are sold on the free Token Transit app.

Customer feedback, opinions, and suggestions are valued by Omnitrans, and Wendy makes sure to let us know how we’re doing via email updates. She also appreciates the interactions with our drivers and San Bernardino Transit Center customer service staff.

“I like the friendly relationships I’ve created with the staff,” she shares. “One in particular is with Lydia, a now retired driver, and the Route 7 driver in the evening. The bus drivers over the years have been courteous and that means a lot.”

When Wendy isn’t commuting with Omnitrans during the week, she enjoys spending time with her three children, cheering on the Dodgers, and gardening. Wendy has also extended her transit-riding into the weekends, and hopped on the Dodger Express Metrolink train, down to Union Station in Los Angeles, connecting to Dodger Stadium to catch a game.

Ride Omnitrans to Celebrate #NationalTacoDay!

Celebrate National Taco Day with Omnitrans

There’s something very important that we must taco ’bout this October 4th:  #NationalTacoDay! Sure, these social media food holidays seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but who doesn’t love an excuse to celebrate the wonder of tacos? Breakfast, fish, or good ol’ street-style carne asada…there is a taco for every occasion, mood, and personality.

To get the fiesta started, we’ve compiled some of our favorite taco spots in the Inland Empire that are easy to get to riding Omnitrans. So, let’s get the shellebration started! Alright, we’ll stop with the cheesy (queso?) puns…now.

King Taco, Fontana
Served by Routes 19, 20, 61, 82

Tacos Don Ramon, San Bernardino
Served by Route 3, 4

Mr. Taco, Redlands
Served by Route 8

The Taco Man, Montclair
Served by Route 85

Tacos La Central, Colton
Served by Route 1

To plan your trip to these destinations, utilize our step-by-step Trip Planner on Omnitrans.org!

Omnitrans Offers 1-Day Bus Pass During Rideshare Week 2018, Participate for a Chance to Win Prizes!

Redeem free 1-day pass on Token Transit during Rideshare Week 2018!Take another step toward living your best life. Try ridesharing this Rideshare Week!

Rideshare Week, October 1-5, 2018, is an annual invitation for you to explore alternative ways to get where you’re going by pledging to try something new. Ridesharing reduces your carbon footprint, saves you money and time, reduces stress, and by participating, you could win a prize!

FrRedeem free 1-day pass on Token Transit during Rideshare Week 2018!ee 1-Day Pass for Rideshare Week
Omnitrans makes it easy to participate by offering you a FREE 1-Day bus pass via Token Transit, our mobile fare outlet. Your 1-Day pass is redeemable any single day of Rideshare Week, and can be used on Omnitrans local buses, OmniGo community shuttles, or sbX rapid transit.

Enter your phone number to receive your complimentary 1-day pass via the Token Transit app on your smartphone. You will receive a text with a download link to redeem your pass. One 1-Day pass per phone number. Learn more about mobile fares on Omnitrans.org.

Spot GoGoDon & Buster for a Chance to Win $100!
GoGoDon is this year’s rideshare ambassador, encouraging you to make the most of life by trying an alternative commute mode! He and Buster, our beloved mascot, have bonded over the positive impact that riding the bus has on your wallet, your time, and the environment.

GoGoDon and Buster will be in select Omnitrans buses during Rideshare Week! If you spot them, snap a selfie with them and tag @omnitrans on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. Winner will be randomly selected. An example of a valid entry is below:

Rideshare Week Prize Drawings
When you share the ride during Rideshare Week, you may enter to win prizes, including a one night stay at Ace Hotel & Swim Club, lift passes to Big Bear Mountain Resort, gift cards, and more! Simply visit IEcommuter.org, pledge to rideshare (using your Omnitrans bus pass!), and you will automatically be entered into the prize drawings.

Ridesharing has proven to positively impact an individual’s finances and quality of life, as well as promote environmental sustainability. Take the pledge today and enjoy your free ride on Omnitrans this Rideshare Week 2018!

3rd Annual SBTC Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest Is Back with Free Kids Painting Class!

Help us celebrate the third anniversary of the San Bernardino Transit Center at the annual SBTC Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest! The contest, themed “A Trip Around the World,” will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2018 on the concrete floors of the San Bernardino Transit Center.

This community celebration will feature live music broadcast by Hot 103.9, refreshments, and – new this year – a FREE painting class for children ages 7-13! Prize raffles and promotional giveaways will round out the day.

We hope to see new and familiar faces at this year’s event! The new kids painting class will be strictly for children ages 7-13, starts at 9:30 a.m. and lasts one hour. This class will be taught by one and only, Susan from Cherry Valley’s The Art Barn.

Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest
With only 30 spaces available for the Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest, creativity and connecting to the theme will get you one step closer to the grand prize!

This year’s theme opens up a world of opportunities for art. Where would you ride the bus to if you could ride anywhere in the world? The Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower? The colors and sights in Thailand or Mexico? The world is your oyster!

Be sure to start grab your passport and start brainstorming your interpretation of “A Trip Around the World”. Let your creativity shine for a chance to win the grand prize – a $300 Visa gift card, $150 Visa gift card for second place, or $100 Visa gift card for third place. All gift card prizes will be awarded in the Adult division for participants 14 and older. However, all participants 13 and under will receive a movie ticket just for participating!

Be sure to check out our Official Rules to familiarize yourself with guidelines and regulations.

Event Schedule
Artist Check-In: 8:30 a.m.
Chalk Art Contest: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Kids Painting Class: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Chalk Art Contest Judging Period: 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Winners announced: 11:30 a.m.

In addition, all event participants and spectators will receive a free Omnitrans refillable water bottle to take home along with other goodies! Please note: Refillable water bottles and promotional item giveaways are available while supplies last.

Start packing your brain with ideas for your “Trip Around the World”. Omnitrans is rooting for you!

Be sure to check out the newly landscaped grounds at the transit center, which has become a well-recognized resource and community space for San Bernardino since opening in 2015. The San Bernardino Transit Center is located at 599 Rialto Ave., San Bernardino, CA 92410.

New buses in East Valley equipped with USB charging ports, enhancements made to sbX fleet

Every now and then, you’ve got to freshen things up a bit. At Omnitrans, we are doing so by welcoming new coaches to the East Valley fleet, and doing a couple of touch ups to the sbX fleet.

A few weeks ago, 24 New Flyer Xcelsior buses, numbers #1341 to #1364, were made service-ready by our maintenance team and are now out on the road. On the rapid transit front, sbX sports a new interior look and new bike racks. You may have already noticed these enhancements while riding in recent weeks.

The new buses come equipped with USB charging ports between/below seats, which riders may use to charge their mobile devices (cords not included). This is convenient for all, but especially for riders who travel long distances and are looking for ways to keep busy during their commute to and from work or school. Feel free to binge watch your Netflix shows or stream your favorite new album (don’t forget your earbuds, please) without fear of your mobile device battery dying!

New buses equipped with USB ports are identified by a USB decal on the rear.

Not only do our passengers benefit from these enhancements – so does the environment! The near-zero engine on the new vehicles is a game-changer for cleaner air quality. Though our entire fleet has been fueled with natural gas for many years, this further underscores our commitment to improving the quality of the air we breathe.

“This is our first build that has come with the ISL G Near Zero natural gas engine,” says Maintenance Manager Omar Bryant. “It is the latest and greatest engine with the least amount of emissions, exhausting 90% less than the standard.”

Not to be outdone, the sbX rapid transit fleet has recently undergone an interior facelift. Riders will notice new seat upholstery with a brand new color and design. “After regular wear and tear since the sbX launch in 2013, it was time to re-do the seats,” says Omar.

Upgraded upholstery in sbX buses has transitioned from the original red seat covers to a bright blue pattern fabric.

Bike riders are also enjoying more reliable onboard bike securement racks, conceptualized and created in-house by our very own employees last spring. All sbX buses have now been retro-fitted and feature the new bike racks, making commuting by bike and bus simpler and safer for all onboard passengers.

The bike’s rear tires are positioned between the slots on the rack, and a lever bar is pulled up, then tightly secured on the rear tire. The original Velcro straps remain for added support in the center of the bike.

Omnitrans is proud to usher in these enhancement to our local-route and sbX fleet to better serve transit passengers in the east side of the San Bernardino Valley. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Go Paperless, Save on 10-Packs of 1-Day Passes & Single Rides

This week, we celebrate one year of mobile fares with Token Transit. Since launching our partnership with the digital fare app, over 8,500 Omnitrans riders have switched from paper to digital passes available in the palm of their hand, literally.

And now, beginning September 4, 2018, we will introduce two new ways to save you money by choosing a mobile bus pass!

10 Full Fare Single Ride tickets for the price of 9

  • Full Fare: $16 ($17.50 value)
  • Senior/Disability/Medicare: $7 ($7.50 value)
  • Veterans: $7 ($7.50 value)

10 Full Fare 1-Day Passes for the price of 9

  • Full Fare: $45 ($50 value)
  • Senior/Disability/Medicare: $20 ($22.50 value)
  • Veterans: $20 ($22.50 value)

The 10 pack of 1-Day passes has been available for paper passes, but is new to our mobile fares. The 10 Single Ride deal is perfect for regular riders who don’t ride every day. With Token Transit, your single-ride tickets and 1-Day passes are stored in the app’s Pass Wallet and are not activated until you are ready to board.

Digital bus passes can be purchased on the Token Transit app (click here to learn how it works, and for free download), and require a credit or debit card to complete your transaction. Help Omnitrans help the environment by using less paper while saving you some cash!

Guide to September 2018 Service Changes

Don’t miss out on the newest Bus Book, effective Tuesday, September 4, 2018, one day after Labor Day (which, just as a reminder, is a no-service holiday). Several changes will go into effect, targeted to improve your experience riding Omnitrans to work, school, or entertainment.

Major changes include enhancement of transfer points, increased coverage in certain areas, and realignment of routes to better serve you. Additionally, beginning September 4th, pennies will no longer be accepted as a form of payment onboard, and there will be a new way to save while riding Omnitrans!

Over in East Valley, Route 14 will be realigned in Downtown San Bernardino to travel along E Street instead of D Street, allowing for easier transfers to and from sbX and Route 2. On Route 15, a new connection to Pass Transit Route 125 has been added at Alabama & Lugonia Ave.

It also will now be easier to get around Upland in West Valley. A loop extension has been added to the northern end of Route 83 to better serve the Colonies Crossroads shopping center, as seen in the map below.

Route 83 will now loop around the Colonies Crossroads shopping center.

In Ontario, a realignment of Route 86 along Bon View Avenue provides direct service to Baldy View Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Career Training Center, as well as to the Dorothy A. Quesada Community Center.

Route 86 now travels along Bon View Avenue.

To improve efficiencies and avoid delays at boarding time, Omnitrans buses will no longer accept pennies as fare payment onboard. This will help reduce farebox jams and delays, speeding up the boarding process for our riders. Pennies will continue to be accepted as a form of payment for cash purchases of Omnitrans bus passes at the San Bernardino Transit Center and administrative headquarters.

Furthermore, Omnitrans is encouraging riders to use a paperless bus pass and save money! Digital bus passes available on the Token Transit app will now have the option to save in two ways: a 10-pack of single ride tickets for the price of 9, and a 10-pack of 1-Day passes for the price of 9. Help Omnitrans help the environment while saving you some cash! To download the Token Transit app and go digital, click here.

All service changes, including minor tweaks, are listed below. Please plan accordingly if your route scheduled has changed.

Route 1: New timepoint has been added at 21st & Kenwood. Runtime changes, all days.
Route 3/4: Minor runtime adjustments, all days.
Route 14: Downtown San Bernardino routing changed to E Street, between 5th and Rialto Ave. Minor runtime adjustments, all days.
Route 15: New timepoints added at Del Rosa & 6th, and at San Bernardino & Orchard Way. Runtimes adjusted all days. Connection added for Pass Transit Route 125 at Alabama and Lugonia Ave.
Route 61: New timepoints at Holt & Plum and Holt & Lemon, replacing Holt & Vineyard timepoint. Runtimes adjusted, all days.
Route 83: Service has been extended in Upland to include a loop to the Colonies Crossroads.
Route 84: Minor runtimes adjusted, all days.
Route 86: Route realigned to Bon View Ave. to serve the Dorothy A. Quesada Community Center and Baldy View Regional Occupational Program. Times adjusted.