Tag Archives: omnitrans bike racks

No Hill For a Climber

Sand Canyon Road, the steep, winding road that connects Yucaipa with Mentone and Redlands, is a favorite ride for local cyclists.  For Omnitrans rider and multi-modal commuter John Sciniasil of Yucaipa, it’s just the second stop in his daily commute.

Each morning just as the sun rises, John begins his commute on  his foldable bike which is small enough to fit under a train or bus seat!  And even though he combines different modes of ridesharing, like carpooling or catching the bus, he always has a bicycle with him.  “Some days I catch a ride with a friend to work,” said John, “But on the way home I ride my bike.”

John Sciniasil of Yucaipa, combines his love of bicycle riding with other modes of transportation, such as Omnitrans, as he commutes to work.

On the day we talked, John was riding Omnitrans and using a Dahon bike, one of five foldable bikes he owns.  Although it folds down, John takes advantage of the 3-bike capacity rack at the front of the bus.

“In New York City, you see a lot of these kinds of bikes,” said John.  “Here, it’s more rare.”

His favorite Omnitrans route is typically Route 19, where he disembarks at Wabash and Sand Canyon, and sails on into east Redlands to begin his day with the Water Department.

“It’s smooth sailing going in,“ said John.  “But I really like the challenge of going up the hill to go home, believe it or not.”

Freeway Express Route 208 was launched in May 2017, and connects Yucaipa, Redlands, and Downtown San Bernardino with limited stops via I-10.

But last week, John decided to give the new Freeway Express Route 208 a try.  The fact that the express route reduces travel time overall compared to a car is appealing to him, and allows him even more commute options in the future.  Route 208’s stop at the Redlands Mall is only 1.7 miles from the building he works in, which he says will be great.

John’s romance with bicycle commuting began two years ago during California Rideshare Week.  He decided to try carpooling, as well as the bus.  Incorporating his love of bicycles seemed to be a natural fit.

 “It’s a bit of a climb depending upon which road I take, but I enjoy that kind of workout,” said John.

Well, you know what they say, ‘No Hill for a Climber!’  Happy travels to you, John.

Cyclist commutes successfully on 2, 4, or 6 wheels

This transit advocate enjoys the flexibility of combining his bike with the bus or sbX for local trips

“I take the bus whenever I don’t feel like sweating too much on my bike,” laughed Loma Linda resident Marven Norman when we caught up with him for a phone interview. “As a matter of fact, I’m on the sbX right now!”

An avid cyclist, Marven is also Vice President of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance. The group was formed to unify the cycling community to have a stronger voice in promoting bicycling for transportation and recreation.

“Right now the Inland Empire is one of the worst places for bikes. And it’s hard on drivers too,” said Marven. “Part of what we do is work with area agencies to improve the biking environment in our community with bike trails, bike lanes and other amenities.”

Marven has a strong interest in transit, from bikes and buses to trains and planes. He educated himself on transit planning issues a few years ago when looking into the possibility of new bike lanes.

“I realized pretty quickly that there was a bigger picture to be considered. It wasn’t just about putting paint to pavement. From that I also developed a strong interest in sustainable living and urban renewal.”

His first experience with Omnitrans was as a Valley College student in the Go Smart Program, which provided students at participating colleges with unlimited rides with their student ID. He liked the fact that he could save money and not worry about the hassles of campus parking.

Later he went on to get his Bachelors in Psychology from Cal State San Bernardino and now works as a substitute teacher for the San Bernardino School District. Although he owns a car, he still often favors a combination of bike and bus to get where he needs to go.

He believes more people would consider switching to bikes if more bike lanes were available, because it’s a fast and simple way to get around for quick trips. And for longer distance travel, challenging terrain or bad weather, it can be easily combined with the bus. With California’s recent approval of triple bike racks for buses, along with new bus rapid transit (BRT) coaches that offer interior bike racks, public transportation in the Inland Empire is slowly becoming friendlier to cyclists.

There’s also a growing sense of community among cyclists themselves, and many of them lend a hand to each other when riding the bus.

“If two of us get to the bus at the same time, we’ll usually talk and figure out who will be getting off first so we can set up the bikes accordingly. It makes it easier to unload your bike that way,” said Marven. “And sometimes on the bus when I see other cyclists trying to board and the racks are full, I’ll get off and bike to my destination. Most of the time I’m not going that far, and I can get there just as quickly on my bike. I’m also not intimidated by traffic like some cyclists, so I really don’t mind.”

As for the future, Marven is looking forward to Omnitrans’ development of the West Valley Connector Corridor. In addition to more BRT coaches, he hopes to see more bike improvements in the area.

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org 

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SB native intern moves ahead

Thirteen months ago intern Alvaro Gomez came to Omnitrans to intern in the planning department. This month he leaves us to attend graduate school at the University of Southern California where he will continue his planning studies. He believes Omnitrans has given him a greater understanding and insight into the policies, development and economy at work in this area.

“The scope of the projects and organizations Omnitrans is involved with beyond just the cities would surprise most people.  I was very fortunate to have our planning director Rohan Kuruppu and planning project manager Anna Rahtz mentor me and give me the opportunity to attend so many different meetings and workshops. It’s given me some fantastic opportunities, and I’ve been able to meet a lot of people who have a real passion for public transit, economic development and livable spaces.”

The experience, he says, further impressed upon him the pivotal role the agency plays in the local community. “I was fortunate to be here at a time when so many new projects are on the horizon,” said Alvaro. “I grew up here in San Bernardino and it’s encouraging to see the growing movement to revitalize the area. Working with Anna and Rohan, I was able to assist with the research and grant writing for major projects like sbX and the San Bernardino transit center. It’s exciting to have the chance to be a small part of something that will have such a positive, long-term impact on people’s lives.”

In addition to his interest in planning, Alvaro is also an avid cyclist and biking advocate. He was recently featured in an Omnitrans instructional video on how to load your bike on a bus rack (see below). “I like the flexibility of being able to combine bus and bike–especially for longer commutes–and I think we’ll see more people taking advantage of that in the future. One of the things I would really like to explore is connecting and expanding our current bike infrastructure in southern California. We have a lot of bike paths in this area, but many of them are not connected and maintenance isn’t what it should be. I’d love to see more people ride.”

For now, he’s leading by example. “It’s been interesting watching people in my own neighborhood react when they see me on my bike. It’s infectious. There have been a bunch of kids who have decided to pull out their old bikes and go for a ride. It reminds them of how much fun it can be.”

-Juno Kughler Carlson
junocarlson@omnitrans.org

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Bike and bus a winning combo

“Riding my bike and using the bus saves me a ridiculous amount of money in gas,” says Anthony Calles. A culinary arts student at Chaffey College in Chino, Anthony works in the dietary department at San Antonio Hospital. He would like to become a cook for the hospital and eventually go on to open his own restaurant. He hasn’t yet decided on his niche, although barbeque or grill style is among his favorites types of cuisine.

Anthony has been using Omnitrans to help him get to school and work for the past two years. He feels the combination of riding his bike and the bus gives him the best of both worlds. It means he is never stuck and has the flexibility to bike between stops. He can also take the bus for longer legs of his trip and use his bike for shorter jaunts–like grabbing food from a restaurant a few blocks away.

The biggest challenge he faces is that each bus only has two bike racks. If they’re full, he has to decide what he wants to do based on his time schedule. Sometimes it’s as simple as biking to the next stop to see if another bus has an opening. If he has the time, he might bike all the way to his destination. If he’s in a hurry, he can secure the bike for the day and hop the bus. He looks forward to the arrival of the new Omnitrans buses, which will be equipped with three-bike racks.

As a student, saving money is very important to Anthony. He is a huge fan of the Go Smart college pass program that gives him unlimited bus rides with his student ID. “During my first year riding the bus I was paying $35 for student bus fare every month. Now Chaffey students pay a $7.50 transportation fee every semester and can ride anywhere they need to go with just a student ID. It’s so worth it.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

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Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org