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Classical musicians play the San Bernardino Transit Center

Every day, an average of 5,000 passengers come through the San Bernardino Transit Center as they travel to work, home, health care appointments, and other destinations throughout the region. On Wednesday, February 22nd, however, customers were in for a special treat as the transit and classical music worlds collided for a special afternoon.

San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Ana Maria Maldonado and violinist Laura Rosky-Santori brought a taste of the arts and local culture to the transit center for two hours as they performed for riders, staff, and passers-by as part of the Fine Arts Lunch program.

“This was made possible through a two-year grant from the James Irvine Foundation,” says Anne L. Viricel, executive director of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra. “The grant seeks to test whether public perception of San Bernardino may improve through its fine arts community.”

Through the following months, musicians will conduct intimate public performances such as this at least three times each month in well-traveled areas around the city. 

Ana, who began playing the cello in the sixth grade, has been a performer in San Bernardino since 1980 after relocating to Southern California to attend graduate school at USC. She decided to make this home and now teaches at cello lessons and music theory classes at different universities including Cal State San Bernardino and Chaffey College.

“The symphony here has really fine players and Southern California is a really good place for classical musicians. We’re so glad we got this grant, so that we could get out and perform for the community,” says Ana.

Mary, an Omnitrans rider, was pleasantly surprised to arrive at the transit center to the live performance. “I’m a classical music devotee, so this is a real treat,” she enthused.

For Santiago, another Omnitrans passenger, the soothing sounds of the cello and violin took him back to a pleasant moment in his childhood. “It brings back memories of my uncle who used to play music for me and my family when I was six or seven years old,” he said. “This is beautiful.”

A sizeable crowd gathered over the two-hour period, with transit regulars and local community members stopping by during their lunch hour to enjoy the talents of our local artists. Omnitrans had a promotional booth with information and giveaways, much to the attendees’ delight.

“Omnitrans is always happy to partner with wonderful organizations like the San Bernardino Symphony to bring positive experiences to our community. Our goal has always been for the SBTC to be a true community space, so this event was a great fit,” explains Omnitrans Marketing Manager Nicole Ramos.

Tips for riding on a rainy day

Heavy rains are expected throughout Southern California this weekend. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when riding Omnitrans on rainy days. Safe travels!

  • Don’t forget your umbrella. It’s been a wet winter in Southern California, so hopefully you already have yours readily available. Staying dry is key! Look around at all times to make sure you haven’t left it behind at a bus stop, or inside the bus.
  • Stay visible. Make sure that motorists and other pedestrians are able to see you while you are walking to, from, or waiting at the bus stop. Wear warm, bright clothing so that you are clearly seen in the cloudy weather.
  • Plan ahead. Because of road conditions during inclement weather, the bus may be running behind schedule. Follow us on Twitter @Omnitrans for any reported detours and download the official Omnitrans app (available on Google Play and iTunes) for real-time NexTrip bus arrivals info.

Employee of the Quarter, October-December 2016

Director of Operations Diane Caldera, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Christina Diaz, Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham, and Board of Directors Chair Sam Spagnolo.

When asked to attend the Omnitrans Board of Directors meeting in February to be officially recognized as the Employee of the Quarter, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Christina Diaz was appreciative and humbled, but a little apprehensive.

“I don’t like all the attention,” a modest Christina reveals. “I just want to come to work and do the best job that I can. That’s how I like to prove myself.”

Christina’s passion for the work that she does led her to this achievement. She does not seek pomp and circumstance, or praise. She would rather let her strong work ethic speak for itself – and it has.

When she’s not leading a new class of coach operators through their five-week training period, Christina is working on tasks to improve our fleet safety. She currently also sits on the Accident Tracking and Prevention Committee and is an alternate representative on the Accident Incident Review Committee.

Over the last quarter, Christina has: become the first in the Training department to complete the Leadership Action Plan program, the University of the Pacific Transit Management certification, and developed an employee proficiency form that has improved the Operations department’s CHP and DMV audits of over 400 coach operators. She has also volunteered to attend the DMV Employee Testing Program (ETP) examiner course in Sacramento later this year. Gaining this certification saves the agency money and resources by having an ETP examiner on-site to administer the tests for coach operator commercial driver licenses.  

As involved as she is within her department, Christina’s enjoyment comes from interacting with new coach operator students in the training room.

“I get to be a mentor as well as a coach,” Christina smiles. “This is what I tell students when they come through the door: ‘I don’t teach you how to drive, you already know how to drive. I am just going to add to what you already know.”

Christina’s approach to training is not to simply teach from a manual, but to pass on knowledge that she has gained through experience, and share it with future drivers to enrich their own job performance. This is what makes her look forward to another day at the office.

“I enjoy interacting with our trainees and being exposed to different types of personalities. It helps me learn to work with different individuals. The agency relies on me to execute what needs to be done, and if I can contribute to that greater goal of the agency by instructing new drivers, then I am happy,” she tells us.

Fleet Safety and Training team at the 2016 Omnitrans Bus Roadeo: (left to right) Charles Molloy, Christina Diaz, Norma Zamora, Don Frazier, Kim Perkins, and Steve Sisneros.

Before joining Omnitrans in 2013, Christina had been a driver at other transit agencies. When the time came for a change, she found an opportunity in Training that was suitable to her skills and experience. She describes this as the agency “taking a chance” on her without knowing her, for which she is grateful.

In her three and a half years with the agency, her proudest moment is having been an integral part of the sbX launch in 2014. “I was here since its inception,” Christina says proudly. “Even though I was new here, I got to be involved in the process from the beginning, learning how to drive the 60-foot articulated buses, and passing that on to operators who had not driven them before,” Christina shares. “That was a milestone – to launch the region’s first bus rapid transit line – and I got to be a part of it. I made history with the agency!”

Christina’s mindset is that fostering mutually beneficial relationships with coach operators is crucial. “Someone once told me that if you have a know-it-all attitude, and you believe there is nothing else that anybody can teach you, you’re in trouble. There is a lot to learn, always.”

She continues, “I am always asking a lot of questions! We are all part of one agency, and the more that you’re aware and knowledgeable of other departments and facets of the agency, the better that you can do your job. Knowing more allows you to understand the broader picture of what we do for our public.”

Christina’s pride and dedication are not lost on anybody, especially her supervisor, Fleet Safety and Training Instructor Don Frazier. “Christina has been a true leader in the Training department. She has volunteered for tasks continuously and has worked many days off to make sure that tasks are covered,” says Don. “Christina has definitely proven to be not only an excellent instructor, but an overall great employee to the agency.”

Moving forward, Christina wants to continue to exceed expectations. “My goal is to continue to fulfill the needs of the agency and to meet the demands to the best of my ability. I also want to continue to grow and learn as much as I can.”

“I take such pride in this job, which is something that I haven’t always done before. I didn’t always care about my uniforms looking neat and pressed,” she laughs. “But now at Omnitrans, I go as far as taking them to the cleaners, because that’s how proud I am to be here.”

Purchase Your Omnitrans Commemorative Toy Bus!

Due to popular demand, we are now selling commemorative Omnitrans toy buses while supplies last! The buses were created to celebrate our 40th Anniversary and are custom designed to replicate our newer bus model. The plastic buses are 9” long and can be used as a toy or displayed in your home or office desk as a collector’s item.

This hot commodity is going fast! To obtain yours today, please visit our Omnitrans Store online, or purchase them in person for $10 at the San Bernardino Transit Center or our administrative office main lobby located at 1700 W. 5th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92411.

Commuting with a Smile

When asked how often she rides Omnitrans, Katrina W. smiles. “I ride every day I go to work, so, that’s at least five days a week,” she enthuses.

The San Bernardino native commutes from the northern end of the city to her job in Redlands via Routes 7 and 8. “I like the bus drivers, and the convenience,” she tells us. “It’s a nice ride.”

She considers herself lucky to have a job in which she can make sure that her work schedule aligns with Omnitrans’ bus schedules, making transportation an uncomplicated task. On the rare occasion that she has to work late, she catches a ride home with a friend.

Katrina, who does not currently have a car, proudly uses public transit as her means of transportation because of the sense of independence it brings. “I don’t have to depend or wait for somebody else [to pick me up]. I know what time the scheduled bus is going to run by my house if I have to go to the store, doctor, whatever,” she tells us.

While some may be apprehensive about riding, Katrina doesn’t understand why some people are hesitant to use transit. “Some people are scared of riding the bus, or think they’re too good for it, but I always feel safe,” she says. “The bus is very reliable!”

We’re glad that Omnitrans helps people like Katrina by providing a safe, dependable, and enjoyable method to get around town. “No negatives about riding the bus,” says Katrina before departing from the San Bernardino Transit Center. “I enjoy it!”

Do you have a great Omnitrans or sbX story to tell? We are always looking for new riders to highlight in our blog. Let us know!

Guide to January 2017 Service Changes

bus-book-cover

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

tc_riverside_new_jan17

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!

2016 Holiday Season Bus Schedule

happy-holidays

The holiday season is upon us! As you plan your travel this season, keep in mind that Omnitrans buses will not be in service on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25th. Bus service will resume on Monday, December 26th. Our administrative offices will be closed on Monday, December 26th to observe the holiday.

The following week, buses will not be in service on Sunday, January 1st, 2017 for New Year’s Day, and will resume on Monday, January 2nd. Our administrative offices will be closed on Monday, January 2nd.

Thank you for joining us along for the ride in 2016, our 40th year of service! Omnitrans wishes you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a prosperous new year.

For all the latest info & news, plus real-time bus arrival times via NexTrip, download the official Omnitrans mobile app for FREE on the iTunes app store or Google Play!