Tag Archives: mass transit

Omnitrans safety communications go interactive

Omnitrans Safety & Security team

Left to right: Director of Human Resources And Safety Regulatory Compliance Marjorie Ewing, Safety and Regulatory Compliance Specialist Terry Morocco, Safety and Regulatory Compliance Specialist Ross Hrinko , Security and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Mark Crosby. Seated: Safety and Regulatory Compliance Manager Tim Campbell

Thanks to our dedicated Safety and Security team, Omnitrans safety has taken some innovative strides over the past few months. These include the “Text-A-Tip” campaign, video newsletters and safety reminders, and a greater focus on emergency preparedness.

The “Text-A-Tip” campaign was developed by Security and Preparedness Coordinator Mark Crosby in an effort to give customers, as well as employees, the opportunity to report non-emergency concerns directly to a security officer via text or phone. This real time communication has helped provide critical information about incidents and allowed us to respond to them more quickly. Information on the service is publicized through business cards, bus cards, and a sticker at the front of each bus displaying the text number.

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Since its launch, Omnitrans security officers have received 30-50 tips per month. The majority of these tips have been reports from passengers on rude or disorderly conduct on the bus. In these cases, the security office notifies Operations, and a Field Supervisor is immediately dispatched to provide assistance.   Other tips include observations of graffiti vandals or other suspicious behavior.

“We even have some people who text ‘Just wonder if you’re listening,’” says Safety and Regulatory Compliance Manager Tim Campbell. He laughs. “They’re always a little surprised because we answer them right away. It actually goes a long way in making our customers feel safe. They know we’re paying attention.”

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The team has also looked at new ways to better serve our employees. In October, the department switched its monthly text newsletter to a video format. Employee feedback has been positive. Many say they don’t feel like reading a newsletter and that watching a video is more interesting.

“It’s much more personal and interactive,” explains Tim. “If I’m talking about slips while I’m walking down a stairway, or if I’m out in the parking lot reminding people to be safe and walk with a buddy, you immediately see it in context. It also makes the message easier to remember.”

Omnitrans employees assume a duck and cover position during an earthquake drill.

Omnitrans employees assume a duck and cover position during an earthquake drill.

The department is also in the process of developing other systems to share workplace safety messages. By late spring, the Safety and Security team will introduce a new, streaming safety and security channel. This video presentation will be displayed on newly placed plasma screens located at West and East Valley Operations, and Maintenance areas. Current data pertaining to accidents, injuries and tips of the day will be continually presented. These monitors will also be used to provide training over multiple days for special topics.

Tim believes the new technology will be an effective way to get out important information. “There will be a ticker at the bottom of the screen, a video in the middle and safety and security messages on top. For example, we can upload KPIs, or show bus videos to teach safety prevention. We control the feed, which allows us to pivot at any moment to share real time information on weather, flash floods, or crisis incidents like the recent San Bernardino shooting.”

New disaster preparation instruction for everything from fire drills to major earthquakes to active shooter scenarios are in the works for all staff as well. Tabletop exercises will be held to outline potential emergency scenarios and the steps the agency will take to minimize impact.  Preparation walk-throughs will be held and documented, and lessons learned will be discussed.

“This kind of hands-on and video training will help ensure that everyone has the skills needed to maintain a safe work environment and face any potential crisis,” points out Tim. “Our goal is to develop short, midterm and long term plans to progressively improve our capabilities to provide safety and security to our customers and employees.”

Overheard during service change week

Passengers board Route 290 Freeway Express

Passengers board Route 290 Freeway Express

Route 290 Freeway Express:

“Nice switchover to the new schedule and new transit center–thanks! I took the first run of #290 from Montclair. The #290 driver drove so smoothly that I had to look up to remember that I was on the freeway. Thank you also for having a customer service representative or manager at Montclair for the start of the #290–it was really reassuring since the bus stop sign only went up recently, it was dark, and there were few people around. You run a good operation, and I’m grateful.”

“Omnitrans is saving my life. I work in LA. By taking Route 290 and Foothill Transit, I’ll be saving almost $200 per month commuting by bus vs. riding the Metrolink!”

“I rode Route 290, and it was nice. Fifteen minutes flat from TC to my door. Same time as driving, light years ahead of Route 1. 10/10, would ride again.”

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First buses of the morning arrive at the San Bernardino Transit Center

The San Bernardino Transit Center:

“It’s been so hot this week, and you know a lot of the stops don’t have places to sit or shade you can stand in. It’s hard, especially when you have kids with you. Here we can sit inside and be cool. The water fountains help too. We’ve already filled up our water bottles again for the ride home.”

Dad and son enjoy ice cream sandwiches while waiting for their bus to arrive at the SBTC

Dad and son enjoy ice cream sandwiches while waiting for their bus to arrive at the SBTC

“I really like the new transit center–what a huge difference from 4th and F! It’s nice to have something like this in San Bernardino. I hope people don’t ruin it.”

Mom and boys wait for their bus at San Bernardino Transit Center

Mom and boys wait for their bus at San Bernardino Transit Center

“It’s almost more like an airport than a transit center. I like that the arrivals are displayed on screens so you can see when your bus is coming. There seens to be pretty good security here too–I saw a guy in a security vest biking around outside. I wish all the transit center were like this.”

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Fixed Route Buses:

“Route 85…one of the many new routes and I love it. As a reminder, you can ride Route 85 and stay out of the heat if you need to catch Route 66. I saw a mother and her young daughter do this today and get off at Elm Ave and Foothill Blvd. Way to go Omnitrans!”

“I enjoyed being an ambassador today. Yesterday I had a lady mad as could be about the change to Route 80 and having to pay two fares. No matter what I said she was just mad.  Today that same lady today came up and thanked me. She was able to get home 20 minutes earlier even though she had to take a second bus. She also looked into my suggestion about purchasing a 31-day pass and found it  saved her money over how she was traveling before the change.”

Family waits for their bus at the San Bernardino Transit Center

Family waits for their bus at the San Bernardino Transit Center