Tag Archives: go smart omnitrans

sbX Sweepstakes winner pays it forward

Jenn6Jennifer Guerrero, the winner of our sbX Anniversary Sweepstakes, has been riding Omnitrans since 9th grade.  She and her two younger sisters used to rely on their dad to drive them everywhere.  About three years ago he was diagnosed as permanently blind. Since then, their little family has taken the bus wherever they needed to go. Having a bus stop just down the street from them makes it very convenient, and they use NexTrip so they know exactly how much time they have before the bus arrives.

Jennifer is a Route 8 regular, and coach operator Peter Borrero, who drives the first run of the day, is one of her favorites. She likes the fact that he talks and jokes with his passengers.

“It feels nice because it’s such a great way to start your morning,” Jennifer says. “Especially if it’s 5 a.m. and you’re feeling grumpy. The bus drivers are always there, smiling and saying good morning. Sometimes they’ll even say things like ‘I didn’t see you the other day’ or ‘I noticed you were gone.’”

“That totally helps, because sometimes you can’t tell if people notice whether you’re here or not. It’s like you matter. It’s cool. You know the routes and the drivers and they know you. They’ll say ‘Oh, you got Starbucks today! Where’s mine?’” Jennifer laughs.

She also likes the fact that they look after her father. “He feels really comfortable using the bus and is pretty happy about it. The drivers always take care to pull down the ramp for him. Then they wait for him to get into the seat before driving off because they can tell he’ll be scared of the sudden motion. They talk and joke with him just like they do with me so he feels relaxed.”

Her sisters are a high school freshman and junior, and she is helping them learn how to get around. She shares her travel trips for first time riders.

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“I would tell someone to get a bus book for sure. And don’t be afraid to ask the bus drivers questions, because they can be really helpful in telling you where you need to get off. The other riders can help too. They’re really nice. You might be asking the bus driver a question, and one of the passengers will say ‘I know where that is! Get off at the next stop and that will make it easier for you to cross the street.’ It’s cool, total strangers helping each other out like that.”

Jennifer is a big fan of sbX. When she can, she likes to take rapid transit line for longer trips because it’s so fast.

“My sisters and I like to sit in the middle so we spin,” she grins. “We try to sit there all the time. We also love the free WiFi. I use it all the time—and, of course, the power outlets. I wish there were outlets on all the buses.”

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Jennifer graduates from high school this month and plans to attend Crafton Hills College in the fall. The Omnitrans Go Smart program played a big factor in deciding what college she wanted to attend.

“I originally thought about going to Fullerton Community College,” she explains. “But if I stay here, I’m already familiar with the bus and know my way around. Besides, with the Go Smart program I can ride the bus free with my student ID. Every little bit helps. My boyfriend is also going to school at Crafton, so that played a factor too.”

Jennifer plans to pursue a degree in sign language translation with a double major in math and liberal arts. Her goal is to become a math teacher.

“I want to teach high schoolers because I think it would be more fun, and that they would get my sense of humor. I’m that person who goes all out on Pajama Day or Polka Dot Day.” She laughs.

In the meantime, Jennifer is getting some hands on experience through community service work.

“I’m still friends with my 4th grade teacher, so I sometimes come in to help her out,” she says. “I offer to help the other teachers as well. Sometimes it can be hard for the teachers to keep up with all the work they have to do. So I come in and help them grade papers, put up and tear down stuff. I like doing it, and it gives me some experience.”

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Helping others has always been important to Jennifer.  She already has plans on how she will share her Grand Prize winnings which includes twelve 31-day bus passes, four Inland Empire 66ers baseball tickets, four movie passes and a $100 restaurant gift card.

“My dad is a huge baseball fan, so my sisters and I will take him to a 66ers game for Father’s Day. Even though he’s blind, he can still hear the announcer, and we have fun telling him what’s happening on the field. I’m going to take my boyfriend out for a movie and dinner and then take my sisters to a movie and dinner. Everybody wins!”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

 

Community College Students Go Smart with Omnitrans

Chaffey, Crafton Hills, and San Bernardino Valley College

The popular Go Smart program will continue for Chaffey, Crafton Hills, and San Bernardino Valley College students this fall, enabling them to enjoy unlimited bus rides on Omnitrans with their student ID cards. Last spring these students voted to fund the program by assessing themselves a small transportation fee each semester as part of their regular student fees.

A list of currently enrolled student IDs  is provided to Omnitrans by these participating colleges. Students must contact their college directly if there is a problem with their ID  cards.

The Art Institute

The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire is currently participating in the Go Smart pilot program. Instead of ID cards, students at the Institute must obtain a separate pass from the campus store. Passes from previous quarters must also be renewed at the campus store in order to be valid. If you have any questions about the Go Smart program at the Art Institute, visit Student Affairs for more information.

Cal State San Bernardino

The CSUSB Go Smart pilot program ended on June 30th, and there is currently no program to replace it. If this program is important to you and you would like to see it renewed, please contact Associated Students Inc. (ASI) by calling 909-537-5932 or 909-537-5930. You can also email the ASI at asi-pres@causb.edu or visit them on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/asi.csusb. Thank you for your patience.

Go Smart and Student IDs

UPDATED 7/18/2012

If you are a student at a college that is currently participating with our Go Smart program and are experiencing issues with the acceptance of your student ID, here are some facts that will hopefully clarify what is happening.

Cal State Students

  • All IDs are no longer accepted due to end of the pilot program on June 30th and no permanent program to replace it.

Chaffey, Crafton Hills, and Valley Colleges

  • IDs from students enrolled in prior Spring semester are accepted for the month of July.
  • Summer-only students are not included.
  • IDs from students registered for Fall 2012 will be accepted beginning August 1st    
  • The list of accepted IDs is provided by the colleges.  Students must contact the college directly if there is a problem.

Art Institute of California-Inland Empire

  • Student IDs are not considered passes – a separate pass must be obtained at the Campus Store.
  • All passes from previous quarters need to be renewed by visiting the Campus Store. Deadline to renew for the Summer 2012 quarter is July 25.
  • If your pass reads “error” or “invalid” when swiped, visit the Cage to get the card re-coded.
  • Any questions about the GoSmart Program at The Art Institute – visit Student Affairs.

Omnitrans rider’s inspirational life

When she was 12-years-old, Krystle Wheeler’s mother handed her money and a bus pass and told her to go have fun at the mall. “I am the oldest of five children,” laughed Krystle. “I think she just needed to get one of us out of the house. But I’ve have been riding the bus ever since.”

Now 26, Krystle is a student at Crafton Hills College where she is studying speech communication with a minor in math. Her plan is to earn a Masters of Divinity degree and become a United Methodist pastor. The process requires approximately 7 years of study, and applicants must also pass a credit check, criminal background check, a 3-part psychological exam and a written doctrine exam. Krystle is undaunted by the prospect.

“I really feel this is what I need to be doing with my life right now,” said Krystle. “I had taken a break from school for about 5 years. When I started up again last August, Omnitrans had started the Go Smart Program which allowed me to ride the bus for free with my student ID. I took it as a sign that this I where I needed to be. When I was going to school before, there were times I would panic because I didn’t have money for bus fare that week and had to stay home from class until I could afford it. Now I know I can go every day.”

About four years ago, Omnitrans played another important role in Krystle’s life when she decided to donate one of her kidneys to a total stranger. “I was listening to a Pro-Wrestling show on the Internet and heard about a wrestler who needed a kidney. I began researching how many people in this country need a kidney each year and found the numbers ranged in the tens of thousands. I knew I wanted to help and contacted the National Kidney Registry to find out how I could donate one of my own kidneys. I used Omnitrans to get to all the doctor’s appointments to get my bloodwork and preliminary testing done. I even rode Omnitrans to the Greyhound station so I could get to Scripps Hospital in San Diego where the surgery was performed.”

Krystle spent two days in the hospital and was off pain meds after two weeks. She doesn’t know who the woman is who received her kidney, but is happy that she was able to make a difference and would do it again if she could. Does she worry about what will happen to her if her remaining kidney becomes damaged? “Not at all,” says Krystle. “I would do it again if I could. I’m in excellent health. Generally kidney donors are in better shape than most of the population because of the extensive testing they have to pass. And in the rare instance where a donor has a problem with a remaining kidney, they get moved to the top of the donor list.”

Omnitrans has been with Krystle through every important stage of her life from her first mall excursion as a child to reaching out to save a stranger’s life to returning to school to pursue divinity studies. She encourages more people to take advantage of public transit and offers these words of advice to new riders. “Be safe, be aware of your surroundings, but enjoy the ride. I can’t think of anywhere else you can pay $4 to go everywhere you want to for an entire day.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Student rider passionate about politics and public transit

Matthew Munson is a 32-year-old re-entry student who is working on his prerequisites in education at Chaffey College. His goal is to be a history teacher for 7th-12th graders.

Matthew has a passion for politics and ran for the State Assembly when he was just 23-years-old. He’s also written letters to the editor encouraging people to use public transit. He believes that one of the best ways to rally people around a cause is to give them firsthand experience of what it means. “It’s especially important for decision-makers to understand the needs of the people they represent,” said Matthew. “For example I think your bus agency board members should all ride the bus for a day to experience a day in the life of an Omnitrans rider.”

An experienced rider, Matthew has been using public transit almost exclusively for the past 15 years. He rode between Ontario and the University of California at Riverside (UCR) for 2 years when he was a political science major back in 2003. “It was before Riverside Transit Agency had their express bus service. My day used to start at 5 in the morning and I’d get home around 9:00 at night. It was a long commute, but I was able to get all my class reading done on the bus,” said Matthew. “It worked for me.”

Now his commute is only 5 hours a week, and he is able to take advantage of the GoSmart College Pass program which allows him to ride for free with his student ID. He hopes the program will receive the support it needs to in order to continue. Chaffey students will be voting in early April on whether or not to fund the program through a $7.50 transportation fee as part of their registration.

“It’s a win for all the students,” Matthew pointed out. “Those of us who use the service are able to save a lot of money. It used to cost me about $35 a month to ride the bus, which may not sound like much, but the savings definitely add up. Even students with cars benefit from the program because there’s less competition for parking—something that’s always a premium on a college campus. It’s also a great backup for students when their car breaks down or they can’t afford the gas.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org