Thank you to everyone who joined us for free rides and giveaways during our sbX anniversary week. For us, the best part was seeing some favorite Omnitrans regulars and getting to know some of our new riders. Below are a few of the people we were able to spend some time with.
Sisters and newbie riders Surely and Josh decided to take advantage of the sbX free ride coupon to visit one of the restaurants on Hospitality for lunch.
“We love riding sbX–it’s really nice,” said Surely. “I’m looking forward to going back to school at Valley College so I can start riding free with my student ID!”
Our old friend veteran Ed Miller stopped by to say hello. He showed us the new leather cell phone case he had designed and embossed. Josh, who does porcupine quillwork, was very interested. “I should get you to make me a purse,” she told Ed thoughtfully.
This little 2-year-old won our hearts when she played peek-a-boo with us at the Tippecanoe station. “She loves riding sbX and walking around the station with me,” her mom told us, smiling.
Omni regular and Fontana resident Sandra has been riding so long that she knows all the routes by heart. She enjoys riding sbX and would love to see us expand the service to other areas. She was excited about our sbX giveaways like this Farmer Boys coupon.
This charming veteran is part Scots-Irish and part Cherokee and used to race motorcycles in his younger days. He’s lived in this area since 1946, and remembers traveling the original Route 66. He likes how the sbX stations have helped to beautify the city again. He rides sbX frequently throughout the week to get to and from the VA Hospital.
Dwayne Dennis is an old favorite among our coach operators, who have made him part of the Omnitrans family. When he stopped by the Loma Linda Park & Ride for our travel mug giveaway, Coach Operator Mata asked us to take their photo together. Big smiles all around!
Juno Kughler Carlson
Paul Castillo has been fascinated by public transit since he was 5-years-old. “As a child it made a big impression on me,” he admits. “Planes, trains, buses–I loved them all. My mom never drove a car, so we took the bus wherever we went. In school when they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, I always wanted to be a bus driver.”
Eventually he realized his dream and became a coach operator, driving buses for LA’s Metro Transit. “LA is very different from the Inland Empire. It’s like a jungle. There is tons of traffic which make it challenging to stay on time point. Passengers are generally rushed and often cranky. It’s a busy job. You really have to stay on your toes and be aware of your surroundings. You learn to keep your cool, and remain courteous and professional at all times. What I like best about being a coach operator is that you’re outdoors–not stuck in a cubicle all day. And you get to meet all kinds of interesting people.”
During the past year that he’s lived in San Bernardino, Omnitrans has been Paul’s primary form of transportation. He is currently out of work and is finding it helpful in his job searches. “I ‘m not as familiar with this area, so I go on the trip planner section of the Omnitrans site to do Google Transit searches. This way I can see right away how far away a business is, how long the travel time will be and what routes I would need to take in order to get there.”
His goal is to take a position with another transit agency, eventually working his way up to a trainer or management position. “I’d love the opportunity to work for Omnitrans, actually. I like the buses, and I’ve had good experiences riding the routes here. The passengers are much more laid back than in LA, and the coach operators have been very courteous and helpful.”
Paul is a 10 year member of Southern California Transit Advocates, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, development and improvement of public transportation in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. He likes being around others who share his interests and enjoys the occasional group excursions to various transit agencies to learn firsthand about the ridership, buses and services.
–Juno Kughler Carlson
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