We recently sat down with our #mySBTC photo contest winner, 22-year-old Fontana resident Liz Anguiano, to talk with her about her photo and find out what she thinks of the new San Bernardino Transit Center.
“Can you believe it was actually my mom who pushed me to enter the contest?” Liz asks, smiling.
“My mom and I go to San Manuel Casino maybe once a month, whenever my dad can drive us. So we were both pretty excited when we found out that Omnitrans had made a route closer to the casino. We decided to give it a try, and took the bus to the new San Bernardino Transit Center that had just opened.”
Visiting The San Bernardino Transit Center
Liz and her mom were completely surprised at how nice the transit center was and the amenities it offered riders.
“I used to go to the 4th Street Transit Center when I was a student at San Bernardino Valley College. I took the bus there pretty early in the morning, and I always felt a little nervous. There were a lot of people there that were really rowdy. I could tell it was hard sometimes for the bus drivers who had to deal with it.
“I love the fact that the new transit center has so much security—you can see the security guards bicycling around area. It makes me feel very safe to be there.
“Being able to see the departures and arrivals on the screens in the lobby is great because it lets me know if I have time to go to the restroom or get a drink from the fountain. Of course, being inside with the air conditioning is my favorite part—I don’t like the heat.
“My mom thought it was everything was really, really nice. She loved the fact that there were restrooms and that they were so clean. At 4th Street, you’d have to find a store somewhere with a restroom you could use.
“Also the people at the customer service window are wonderful. We were a little confused about how to get to the casino, so we had to ask for help. The girl there was really nice. She told us which route we needed, gave us a bus book and made sure we knew where to get off and everything. So we got there easily with no problem.”
While Liz and her mom were talking to the customer service rep, they spotted a contest poster inviting riders to Instagram photos of the San Bernardino Transit Center for a chance to win a $100 shopping spree and a 31-day bus pass. Liz’s mom urged her to enter.
“I didn’t think I’d win,” Liz says. “I took that photo seconds before I stood up to catch the bus.
“Our trip to the casino was really fun! I won around $40 and paid for a buffet for my mom and me. Now that the bus actually goes there, we’ll be going to San Manuel a lot more often. Route 1 is the lucky bus for us!” Liz laughs.
Growing Up With Omnitrans
“It’s funny. I’ve been riding Omnitrans for as long as I can remember,” Liz told us. “We’re a two car family, but the cars are always in use because our family works different schedules. I have two older sisters, so we all have something going on pretty much all the time.
“When I was younger, my mom and I used to take it to the Fontana Swap Meet. I started riding even more when I was in high school. For a time we lived in another city, so I would take it from A.B. Miller to Rancho. It was just for a couple of months before the school year ended. After graduation, I started riding it to work and to volunteer at the Upland Animal Shelter.”
Giving Back Through Volunteer Work
Liz tells us that volunteering is important to her and that she likes being able to make a difference for the animals at the shelter.
“I started off by walking dogs and trying to socialize animals. I try to get the dogs adopted. It’s hard because the shelter recently had its budget cut, and we’re trying to find ways to raise funds. To help, I set up @UplandAnimals on Twitter and am trying to get more followers for them. I post information about upcoming events, our new thrift store, and some of the animals who need homes.
“Sometimes I post pictures on my Instagram, and I’ve posted a couple of videos to YouTube and Facebook. Since I’m new at it, they’re not that great yet. But I’m working on it.”
A Look Ahead
“I just got a new job,” Liz continues, “Which I’m very happy about. I’ll be working the night shift at Target. I start really late at night, so my dad will take me to work. I’ll get off around 4 or 5 in the morning, which is when the first buses start running, so I’ll take Omnitrans home.
“Actually I’ve encouraged other friends to ride Omnitrans too. A lot of times they worry that it’s too hard. How do you find the bus times and know what bus goes where? I tell them that it’s really easy and help show them which buses to take. I know my regular routes so well I never need a bus book or anything like that. But if I need to get to someplace I don’t normally go, I’ll just go to the website and look it up. I also use the Omnitrans app a lot. It’s actually pretty reliable for me.”
“What’s my long term goal?” Liz thinks for a moment, smiles and shrugs. “I want to keep working and volunteering and riding the bus.”
– Juno Kughler Carlson