Recently many of our early morning passengers have received unexpected assistance from a friendly man in orange. Stops & Stations worker, John Martinez, is a huge fan of our new NexTrip real time bus arrival prediction system and has helped several of our senior riders utilize the new technology.
“A lot of them are surprised to see me pull up and start talking to them about NexTrip,” admits John chuckling. “Sometimes I’ll see someone waiting at a stop early in the morning, and I know that that route doesn’t even begin for another hour. I can’t just leave them standing there without doing something. So I pull over the truck and let them know. Since I always have my cell with me, I take the time to show them the NextTrip app and how simple it is to use.”
Because many seniors have regular cellphones as opposed to smart devices, he works with them on how to use the voice or text feature. “I program the number into their contacts list to make it easy for them to pull up when they need it. Then all they have to do is enter the stop number to have bus arrival info sent to their phone. Then I sit with them so they can practice a few times to get their confidence up. Once they try it, they really like it.”
“One of the passengers I meet on the Route 19 commutes every day from Cal State University to the heart surgery center on Barton Road where she works. She didn’t have a smart phone, but she got so excited by NexTrip that she went out and purchased one from Virgin Mobile for $30 a month—just so she could use the NextTrip app,” he shakes his head and smiles. “She’s a terrific lady and is really looking forward to riding the sbX rapid transit when service starts next year.”
John says he uses NexTrip religiously every day to track bus movements along the routes. “When I’m servicing stops, I try to bounce in between buses so I’m out of the way. It helps when I can see where buses currently are on a live map so I can work around them.”
John is part of the early squad. His workday starts at 4:00 a.m. and ends around 12:30. Afterwards he has just enough time to shower, eat and get in a quick nap before coaching. “I have fun with it, and it keeps me out of my wife’s hair,” he laughs. “Right now, I’m coaching high school football from about 3:00-5:30 and then Pop Warner football from 6:00-8:30. I stay pretty busy, but I’m used to it.”
A former production foreman and Marine Corps training instructor, John enjoys working for Omnitrans and plans to stay here until he retires. “I prefer being outdoors, I like the hours and it gives me the chance to get to know our passengers. Everyone has a different story to tell.”
“I see a lot of people out here at the stops at 4:00 a.m. waiting for buses. If we didn’t run that early, they would probably be unemployed. It really makes you aware of how important the bus system is and the impact it has on people.”
More and more passengers are turning to NexTrip to get live bus arrival information and alerts on disruptions to their routes. To learn more about NexTrip and try it for yourself, visit us online at http://www.omnitrans.org/nextrip.
- Juno Kughler Carlson
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