Tag Archives: omnitrans blog

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

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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

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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

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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!

Give to the 2016 Spark of Love Toy Drive!

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Every child deserves to have a delightful and happy holiday season, and you can have a part in making that happen by joining Omnitrans for this year’s ABC7/Southern California Firefighters Spark of Love Toy Drive!

We’ll be collecting new, unwrapped toys for under-served children in our local communities on Friday, December 9, 2016 at Mathis Brothers Furniture! They are located at 4105 Inland Empire Blvd, Ontario, CA 91764. The annual Stuff-A-Bus event will take place from 5am-6pm. Last year, our community came together and stuffed nine buses full with toys for our San Bernardino County children! In addition to supporting a great cause, you can enjoy music, treats, take a look at the ABC7’s news copter, and say hello to Santa at the event!

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An Omnitrans bus at the 2015 Stuff A Bus event.

Can’t make it out to the event? You can still spread the holiday cheer! We will be collecting toy drop-offs through Thursday, December 8th at our main office lobby in San Bernardino, and at the San Bernardino Transit Center.

You may also stop by any local fire station to drop off your toy, or donate monetarily online. All proceeds will go to buying toys or sports equipment for the children. Click here to donate online!

Omnitrans’ administrative offices are located at 1700 W. Fifth Street San Bernardino, CA 92411. The San Bernardino Transit Center is located at 599 W. Rialto Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92401. For hours of operation please click here.

40th Anniversary Sweepstakes Winners Announced!

Last month, we reached an important landmark which you may have heard a thing or two about – our 40th anniversary! As part of our celebration, we gave away 40 prizes, one for each year that Omnitrans has proudly served the San Bernardino Valley.

Winners were chosen at random from our pool of 700-plus sweepstakes entries, and the grand prize winner of a $400 Visa gift card and twelve 31-day bus passes is Juan Perez of Fontana! Thanks to all who entered.

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Juan Perez of Fontana, the grand prize winner!

“When you first called me, I didn’t know who it was. I was at work and didn’t believe it,” Juan tells us of the surprise congratulatory phone call from Omnitrans. “After I heard the voicemail message and called back, then I thought ‘Okay, this is legit.’”

Juan first learned about the giveaway when he noticed the advertisement on an Omnitrans bus. We were pleased to know that he found out about the sweepstakes the “old school” way in an age dominated by digital and social media!

Omnitrans has been a part of the 28-year-old’s life for many years, tracing back to his days as a high school student, when he took the bus home after school. “I didn’t know all the routes back then, and I would end up getting lost sometimes,” Juan laughs as he reminisces.

These days, Juan rides Omnitrans when he and his brother feel like enjoying a day together at San Manuel Casino in Highland, or simply choose to leave their car at home.

“It’s helpful if you don’t want to take an Uber or drive yourself. It’s a lot cheaper than those options,” he says. “Or, if I want to have an [adult] beverage, I obviously don’t want to drive, and I feel safe riding Omnitrans.”

Juan is thankful to have entered the drawing, and the gift card will definitely come in handy for him this holiday season! “Thanks, Omnitrans for the prize and congratulations on your 40-year anniversary!” says a delighted Juan.

For the full list of our 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes winners, please click here.

Omnitrans Offers Free Rides for Vets on Veterans Day

To honor our veterans on Veterans Day, Omnitrans is offering free rides to the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces on Friday, November 11, 2016. It is our way of saluting those individuals who have contributed to protecting our nation’s freedom.

To ride, veterans simply present an ID card indicating their retired military status upon boarding any of Omnitrans’ vehicles including sbX, Freeway Express, OmniGo community shuttles, and our local fixed-route buses. Accepted forms of ID include those issued by US Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs, San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Since January 2015, Omnitrans has offered rides at a reduced fare for the approximate 79,000 veterans living in the San Bernardino Valley. Required methods of proof of eligibility for such fare discount include:

  • County of San Bernardino Military Veterans ID card
  • US Department of Veteran Affairs ID card
  • Department of Defense retired ID card, or
  • A transit agency Veterans ID card

If you are a veteran and would like to apply for the San Bernardino County Military Veterans ID card, please click here to apply online.

A Closer Look at Omnitrans’ Growth from a Past Driver’s Perspective

Change is unavoidable, especially for a public transit agency in the ever-changing landscape of Southern California, but taking a closer look at how things were 40 years ago illustrates just how far Omnitrans has come! This month, as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we connected with one of our original employees – Richard Breeden – who was integral in developing some important practices that are still part of our daily operations in connecting our community.

It was 1958 when Richard joined San Bernardino Valley Transit, which would become Omnitrans. After being discharged from the US Army, and a short stint at Santa Fe Railroad, Richard saw a job opening for bus drivers and decided to apply, hoping to utilize his experience as an Army driver. After completing a test drive, he was asked if he could begin the 14-day training process the next day.

“I was given a rule book to read before coming in the next day,” remembers Richard of the fast-paced process. “I had to learn all the routes, rules, regulations, operation procedures, and fares all in one night!”

Richard Breeden

Richard in action as the first bus driver trainer around the time Omnitrans was formed.

Many things were different in the transit world in those days. Base fare was 25 cents, the buses did not have wheelchair lifts, and there was no air conditioning for those hot summer days! In addition to conducting a 20-40 foot bus without power-steering, it was the driver’s duty to collect fare, sort it and run it through a changer to generate change for the next stop. Hello, forearms of steel! 

It was only Richard’s seventh day of training when he was asked to train a fellow student! Hesitantly, Richard complied with the dispatcher’s request and from that moment forward, he was no longer a student, but as a trainer.

Of course, that’s not how it works today. Four decades later, Omnitrans’ coach operators must complete five to six weeks of training and education with a certified trainer, including classroom work, behind the wheel experience, and even a state-of-the-art coach simulator with the most advanced technology.

In 1962, Richard was the employee who took the initiative to approach the city of San Bernardino to voice the need for formal training of our drivers. A few months later, a sign-up sheet was posted for anyone interested in being a trainer. Richard did not sign up.

When the transit manager asked why his name was not on the list, Richard responded that he was “happy being a bus driver.” After being convinced to add his name to the pool of applicants, he scored an interview and was selected for the newly created role.

After developing a comprehensive three-week training program that included diagrams and obstacle courses, City Hall approved Richard’s plan. The students’ training period culminated with a test created by Richard, which required a passing score of 80% or higher. Those who scored below that threshold were terminated.

Richard Breeden

Richard came back to Omnitrans for a visit last summer and posed with Old Blue, our vintage 1958 bus, which he found and was also the first to drive at special events around town.

In the years following, Richard revamped the driver’s rule book, and partnered with the National Safety Council to create the Million Mile Club for transit operators, an exclusive club for drivers who have driven 1,000,000 miles accident-free. He strengthened our partnerships with law enforcement by coordinating mutually beneficial trainings on our vehicles, and created positive relations between Omnitrans and community organizations including coordination of the first employee blood drive after a mechanic’s daughter found herself in need during surgery. The blood drive continues to this day.

Richard retired in 2000 as Fleet Safety and Training Supervisor at Omnitrans, but returned for special events to drive our 1958 vintage bus, Old Blue, which he found and drove for the first time. Although we have vastly grown from a small agency of just 29 vehicles in 1976, it is employees such as Richard who had the foresight to implement ideas that continue to impact our agency four decades later.