Guest blog post and photos by R.A. Contreras
Teens relish that special time when they gain ‘independence’ from mom or dad. Mine came in September 1986 —and it involved a bus.
How thrilled I was that I got to buy my own clothes for school and got to do it myself. So I hopped on the Route 2 and headed over to the now-closed Central City Mall; boy, did it ever feel good to be a grown up for once!
And now, some 28 years later, my love affair with Omnitrans still burns brightly. I never got tired of riding the bus. On those sweltering days (and we have many of them here), the air conditioning feels so good; the price has always been more than reasonable; and it has freed up money that would have otherwise been spent on gas, car repairs, registration, and parking fees. Plus, I have enjoyed meeting many fellow passengers and socializing, especially on the longer trips.
With the opening of the new sbX Green Line, things are being taken to a whole new level. The new route conveniently operates from Cal State University to Loma Linda and offers a fast and extremely convenient service instead of a trip by car and headaches.
And since I am a student at CSUSB, the benefits of utilizing the sbX are paid in spades: The days I decide to drive, I can park my gas-guzzling truck in the Marshall Boulevard and “E” Street park-and-ride center, board, and be at school in a mere 7 minutes or so. Gone are wallet-shrinking gas costs, the dreaded fight for parking spaces, and outrageous parking fees. Another perk: I can access my laptop and do some last minute studying thanks to power outlets and free Wi-fi on the coaches. Have I mentioned the ride is free, every day, thanks to the Go-Smart program where most area college students “pay” by swiping their school-issued ID cards? It’s a ‘no-brainer’, especially for us cash-strapped, stressed-out college types.
For others, the new route is beneficial. Fees will remain the same for regular bus route fares. A $4 ‘All-day’ bus pass that can get you anywhere from Yucaipa to Montclair is still one of the best deals out there. There is almost literally no where you cannot go throughout the greater San Bernardino area with Omnitrans’ 30-plus routes that operate seven days a week.
Of course, there are those who have complained about problems with the new route: businesses have lost money during construction; there are closed-off left hand turn lanes; and the fuel storage facility at the Omnitrans’ Fifth Street facility is allegedly hazardous. What I see, though, are the hundreds of dollars I will save on gas expenses alone and hassle-free trips.
If you have never considered riding the bus, why not try the new route now? The reality is that sbX is here to stay. You will undoubtedly pocket extra time and money, ride comfortably, and do your part for the environment. And who knows, your own love affair with bus-riding might begin.