Tag Archives: freeway express

Guide to January 2017 Service Changes


The new year will welcome Omnitrans riders with new service enhancements and more connectivity! Beginning on Sunday, January 8th, Route 215 customers can expect changes implemented by Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) as part of a project that will introduce new and upgraded bus stops at more than 20 central locations. The project is designed to deliver world-class service to popular destinations as the Riverside area continues to grow and expand.

The existing Riverside Downtown Terminal will shut down and Route 215, our Freeway Express route traveling from the San Bernardino Transit Center to Downtown Riverside, will make adjustments to better serve our riders traveling to the area. The new stop for Route 215 will be located at University and Lemon, with one additional connecting stop at the Metrolink Station in Downtown Riverside on Vine Street (see map below). This change will be effective on Sunday, January 8th


Additional adjustments to local Omnitrans routes go into effect on Monday, January 2nd as listed below.

Please refer to the January 2017 Omnitrans Bus Book, which can be previewed online here, for details.

Route 66: Three additional Saturday PM trips have been added.

Route 80: 7:02 AM trip time adjusted for Vineyard Jr. High School.

Routes 81, 83, 84, 85 and 88: Improved transfers at Chino Transit Center.

Route 215 Express: New connection to downtown Riverside Metrolink, with a new stop at University and Lemon.

Route 290 Express: Runtime adjustments have been made for transfers at the San Bernardino Transit and Montclair Transit Centers.

Minor changes have also been made to the following routes:

Weekdays: Routes 3, 4, 8, 15, 19, 80, 81, 82, 83, 215 and 365.

Saturday: Routes 83, 84, 85, 88, 215 and 365.

Sunday: Routes 83, 84, 85, 88, 215 and 365.

Please be mindful of multiple service change dates, and be sure to check your schedule before traveling. For real-time bus arrival info, be sure to download the official Omnitrans app, available FREE in the iTunes and Google Play app stores!

Single Dad and Family Thrive on Freeway Express Service

We met Vincent and his family one morning while riding Route 215, one of Omnitrans’ Freeway Express routes, to Downtown Riverside. He and his two children, Jeremy and Destiny, ages 3 and 2, respectively, board the bus every morning to head from home in San Bernardino to Riverside, where he drops them off at daycare before he goes about his day.

“My car has been down for about a month now, so we ride Omnitrans every morning to Riverside and back to San Bernardino when [the kids] get out at 4 p.m.,” Vincent tells us as he holds Destiny in his lap and her brother, Jeremy, looks out the window. “It’s an efficient and quick way to get where we need to go.”


Route 215 has been a bit of a life saver for their family. In just a few weeks of riding, they have become acquainted with the drivers and grown to enjoy the experience of making the bus part of their daily routine.

“The drivers on this route are awesome and reliable. They do a great job and we never feel unsafe riding the bus,” Vincent tells us. “Not only that, but I love that the freeway express route is timely. I know exactly when the bus will depart from the San Bernardino Transit Center and I don’t have to wait around for it to arrive.”

Timeliness is key, especially when connecting to two other routes during your trip, like Vincent and his children do. All in all, they make it to daycare in about an hour, thanks to the Freeway Express route’s limited stops.

By the time we reach the second and last stop of Route 215 at the Riverside Transit Center, the two young kids are getting antsy and ready to play. “If only we all woke up with this much energy and didn’t need energy drinks or coffee in the morning!” jokes Vincent. They wave as they hop off the bus to catch their RTA connection for last leg of their trip.

Omnitrans currently operates two different freeway express routes, Route 215 from San Bernardino to Riverside via I-215, and Route 290 from San Bernardino to Montclair via I-10.

Who’s Riding The Freeway Express?

When asked how often he rides Omnitrans, Rodney James, Jr. had to pause. 

 “Wow, a lot. Definitely more than three times a week” said Rodney. 

After moving to San Bernardino from New York 10-15 years ago, the 41-year-old began using the bus to commute to work, take care of shopping, and attend school.  His route of choice:  The 215 Freeway Express Route.

He moved from New York to San Bernardino initially to be with family.   Why San Bernardino?

“I was thinking about moving to Rancho Cucamonga, but San Bernardino felt a lot more like home.”

The convenience of a friendly transit system was something that played into Rodney’s decision.

“The people are really nice, and the bus stations are really close,” said Rodney.

Rodney attends San Bernardino Valley College in San Bernardino and is studying to be a nutritionist. His dream is to have his own start- up dedicated to helping improve the nutrition and health of others.

“But you will never guess what I was doing before -“I worked for Nintendo!” he exclaimed.  Rodney’s job as a “debugger” was to test new games video games before they hit the market. Nintendo 64, Gameboy, Virtual Boy, Gameboy Advanced -consoles that would make any gamer from the 90’s jealous.

“I tested games for all kinds of devices,”  said Rodney. He was also one of the first to try out Donkey Kong Country before it was released.

 Although he smiles upon the days he used to work for Nintendo, Rodney is looking forward to the future he has ahead of him.

“I want to help other people get healthy” says Rodney, an excited grin taking over his face.  

Nutrition is his passion and he is firmly focused on achieving his dream.  We’re happy that Omnitrans is helping Rodney achieve his goals by getting him to school, home and around town.







Riders say Route 290 is their commute of choice


I had the chance to try out the Route 290 Freeway Express this week and interview a few of the regular passengers. All of them share a common thread. They love the quickness and convenience of the Freeway Express and hope that it will expand its service hours.

Jose works in Pomona at Metro PCS where he installs cell phones and helps tailor affordable plans for people who have limited resources. The cost of car repairs and gas is too high for him right now. Taking his own vehicle would cost him around $30 every couple of days. Since Omnitrans introduced its Route 290 Freeway Express last September, he’s been a regular passenger.


“The 290 makes a big difference in cost, and it cuts the ride in half,” he explains. “I used to have to take three buses to get to work.  I was spending four hours out of every day on the bus. That’s a lot of time.”

“As soon as I heard about the Route 290, I was ready to hop right on it!” Jose laughs. “Forget about spending all that boring time on the long route! I’m going to take the short route!”

Now to get to his job, he takes Route 290 from San Bernardino to Pomona, then Foothill Transit Route 187 to Gary and Foothill. He couldn’t be happier.


“All of us regulars have been talking about how we wish it would run all day. Sometimes I’ll see people waiting at the bus stop in the afternoon around 12:00 or 1:00. They haven’t read the bus book, so they don’t realize it just runs early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Once you tell them, you get some upset people and others who are like ‘Oh okay, I didn’t know. I was one of those people back when it first started. But I caught on real quick,” Jose laughs.


San Bernardino resident Beatrice just started riding the 290 around 3 weeks ago when she started a new job an office assistant at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. It’s a work experience position and extremely important to her.

“I was taking Route 1, which got me there around 7:40. But I start work at 8:00, and I like to be early. Then someone told me about the 290 and how it got there faster—a whole 50 minutes faster than Route 1!” She laughs. “Yeah, that’s why I started taking it. It’s one straight shot. The 290’s not available when I get off work in the afternoon, so I do have to take the 1 home then.  It would be great if the 290 ran all day.”


Montclair resident Andrew is taking the 290 to San Bernardino so he can visit friends in Colton. He’s a father of 5, and Omnitrans has been the family’s primary mode of transportation for the past five years.

“I’m working right now towards getting a car. I used to study welding at Summit College in San Bernardino and am looking for work. I’d actually like to find a job with a shipyard. The pay is really good and so are the hours.”

Andrew is a big fan of the Freeway Express.

“If the 290 would run all day, it would be nice. I don’t really like catching the 66 because it’s a long ride. If the 290 expanded its hours, it would be more crowded. It’s a lot more convenient—easier and faster.”


Passenger Mike  is also regular Route 290 commuter. He shared some of his thoughts about the service in a recent email to us.

“The 290 drivers that I’ve ridden with since the service started have been impressively professional drivers; I feel safer with them driving than if I were to drive.  It’s easy to forget that I’m on the freeway because of the smoothness of the travel.

I also appreciate very much how early the 290 starts its eastward trips.  They are earlier than the Metrolink that I used to use—much earlier after some schedule changes that Metrolink made.

The Wi-Fi is not essential, but I like having it; I’ve used it with an interactive language-learning website that requires a live connection.  It’s so much more comfortable to read or to use the Internet while commuting than to drive.


If asked, I can only think of two things that I believe could make the 290 better:

  • Schedule the first eastbound bus to arrive a few minutes earlier in San Bernardino.  Its scheduling was improved last month to arrive at exactly the same time as my next bus—the 8—is scheduled to leave.  Lately, I’ve been just barely able to catch the earlier 8, and it shortens my commute by 40 minutes.  I am grateful for that; with the original 290 schedule, the 8 was driving away from the terminal each morning as the 290 arrived.
  • Give the drivers freeway blockage information and map-routing devices.  The drivers have impressed me with their ability to take local roads to get around closed freeway sections, but it would help them if they had an early warning of closures, etc.”

Omnitrans appreciates all of the customer feedback we are receiving on the Route 290 Freeway Express, and will keep your suggestions in mind when planning the next service change!

Juno Kughler Carlson