Tag Archives: omnitrans access

Access commute a lifesaver for family

Fontana resident Russell Allen Harris III relies on the Access bus to transport him to and from Rialto Adult Daycare during the week.

Access rider Russell Harris poses with one of his beaded gecko keychains.

Fontana resident Russell Allen Harris III relies on Access ADA bus service to transport him to and from Rialto Adult Daycare during the week.  His parents, Libby and Monroe Thompson, say that the service is a lifesaver for their family.

“It saves us from having to find a way to get him there and back every day,” says Monroe frankly. “The wheelchair makes it hard for us to do it alone. Even though he can walk, he sometimes has seizures and needs that chair to help him when he’s out. Access comes right to our door and it’s cheap. It’s very important to us.”

Access ADA rider Russell in the Omnitrans lobby

Monroe and Russell in the Omnitrans lobby

Thanks to the Access bus, Russell can enjoy the structured activities and outings offered by his daycare, such as shopping or going out to eat. Twice a week he goes bowling with his league, the Alley Cats. His favorite hobby is beading colorful gecko key chains which he wears proudly on his belt.

Russell likes his weekday commute and knows all his drivers by name. Their friendly curb-to-curb service ensures he gets to his destination safely, and it gives his family peace of mind to know their son is in good hands.

You can learn more about Access ADA service on our website at http://www.omnitrans.org/services/access/

For information about upcoming Access zone changes and new fares visit http://www.omnitrans.org/blog/2014/07/29/guide-september-service-changes/

Maria gets new wheelchair straps

Meet longtime Omnitrans rider Maria Greer. She stopped by our offices today for a wheelchair strap installation courtesy of Fleet Safety & Training Instructor Stephen McClure. Coach operators on Maria’s regular route had recommended she make the appointment so that her chair could be more efficiently secured.

“Every wheelchair is different,” explains Steve. “So the drivers can’t always tell where the best place is to hook it up to secure it. That’s why we offer free strap installation to our wheelchair passengers. Now, when Maria boards, her driver can simply attach these blue straps to the hooks in the bus to make sure she’s secured safely.”

Maria has been riding Omnitrans since she moved here in 1996, but her circumstances changed radically when she lost her leg to diabetes a year ago. Riding public transit now takes on a different perspective for the 50-year-old San Bernardino resident.

When she got her power chair in September, Marie first tried switching to our Access demand/response service but found that at $2.75 each way it was far too expensive for her limited income. Although she was self-conscious about being around people, she decided it just made more sense for her to go back to using the fixed route buses.

“But to me it’s not the same now,” she admits. “Before I could walk and choose where I sat and everything. Now I can only sit in the front of the bus, and I get a lot of eyes on me. It’s very irritating because after the eyes comes the question ‘What happened to your leg?’ It’s awkward. The drivers are good though. I have never had a bad experience with an Omnitrans driver. They help you out a lot, you know. They always ask where you want to get off and then make sure to stop right there and let you off.  And being the first on the bus—that’s a plus. Being the first off the bus, that’s a plus too. And when I have the grandkids with me, people are good about making room for them. They love having time out with grandma riding the bus!”

Family is everything to Maria.

“I love spending time with my grandchildren,” she smiles. “That’s just a blessing to me. I’m the mother of ten kids, and I have twenty grandchildren.”

“You’ve got me beat,” grins Steve from the floor as he gives one of the straps a hard yank with a wrench. “I have nineteen!”

Maria laughs, then says seriously, “We moved to San Bernardino from Los Angeles in 1996. There’s a lot of gang violence in LA, and I didn’t want my boys raised up in that. But, you know, you can’t run away from violence—it’s everywhere. You just have to teach your kids the best you can.”

All ten of Maria’s children and 19 of her grandchildren live with her in her 8-bedroom home. One of her kids has a car, but the rest take the bus. She’s raised all of her children alone and is now helping to raise her grandchildren. “I wish I had had the grandkids first,” she jokes. “They are more understanding, they listen, and I don’t get the backtalk. I’m so proud of them. Every day is something awesome, something new—never a dull moment.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Your safety is always our number one priority. Wheelchair passengers can call 909-379-7157 to make an appointment to come to our offices for a free strap installation with one of our friendly fleet safety experts. The straps take about 20 minutes to install. 

Travel Training Eases New Rider Anxiety

“Omnitrans is important to me because it’s my only transportation. I rely on it for everything–doctor’s appointments, going to the store, basically anywhere I need to go,” said Barbara Cohen, a 65-year-old Rialto resident and regular bus passenger.

For the past 25 years, Barbara has been confined to a power-chair due to a disability. At first she relied on Access demand-response service for persons with disabilities, but eventually found it was too expensive to use regularly. Instead of paying $2.75 per trip for Access, she now buys a 10-pack of fixed route fares for Senior/Disabled riders at only $15.50 which lasts her the entire month.

Making the move from the Access Bus to a fixed route service felt overwhelming and a bit intimidating to Barbara at first. To help her make the transition, she decided to sign up for a travel training class with Vtrans, an agency that provides individual travel training services to seniors and those with disabilities . With the help of an instructor, she was able to practice how to safely board and disembark the bus, how to secure her chair, and how to use the farebox. She also learned how to plan a route, identify landmarks, make stops and transfers and how to communicate any special needs t0 her bus driver.

“It really helped me to feel more confident because I knew firsthand what to expect,” said Barbara. “I recommend travel training to all first time riders–especially powerchair users.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

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Email Juno Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org