Tag Archives: omnitrans chaffey college

From a fun childhood hobby to a practical transportation mode

In the public transit world, we often see people combining different modes of transportation to get to their destinations – biking to the train station, walking to the bus stop, driving your car to meet your carpool group – but skateboarding and bus riding was a refreshingly different commute alternative!

As the new school year started earlier this month, we met Destiny Nunez at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. She hopped off the bus at the Chaffey Transit Center and got on her skateboard, zooming by her schoolmates as they all made their way across campus. The 21-year-old San Bernardino County native rides Omnitrans to school, where she is currently in her second year of art studies working toward a career in animation.

“Omnitrans has been my main transportation to get to school,” she shares with us. “I don’t have a car yet, but I don’t mind riding the bus. It costs much less than having a car would, and even when I do get a car, I will try to ride the bus whenever possible because it’s just better to do that for the environment due to car emissions.”

Choosing and committing to a college after high school can be a daunting task, but Destiny planned hers around transportation. Because of Omnitrans’ GoSmart program and the one-seat ride that would get her to school on Route 80, Chaffey was the obvious choice for Destiny.

“One of my questions was, ‘would I be able to get there?’ I don’t really rely on people to get me places, so when I looked at the bus route and saw that it was convenient, I thought it was great that service was provided. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to come.”

And while some young people would not be caught dead riding the bus, Destiny is laughing back at critics. “I do a lot of homework on the bus, since it’s about a 50 minute ride. It’s really quiet and easy to get work done, or even study quickly before a test on the way to school. It definitely opens up more time for productivity, and I really like that part of it, too, because school can get so busy – especially if you also have a job. I work as well, so I really try to utilize every free minute I have and riding the bus allows me to do that.”

In a world where all of our attention is funneled into our smartphones or other devices, riding the bus also provides an authentic connection to others. “There are nice people that you meet on the bus. It’s usually other schoolmates who have your same schedule, so you always see them on the bus or waiting at the bus stop. That’s really nice. I don’t think I would’ve talked to those people any other way. Everyone’s so busy that they don’t really have time to stop and chat unless you’re in the same situation. I also like chatting with people older than me on the bus because you learn a lot from them. It’s nice to have little conversations and interactions that are always uplifting,” shares Destiny.

Getting the most out of her commute is something that Destiny has mastered at this point. She has meaningful interactions on the bus, spends time catching up on homework or studying, but is also able to get some fun out of it by riding her skateboard to the bus stop, a leisure interest that she has carried into adulthood from her youth.

“I ride my skateboard from my house to the bus stop, so it gets me there faster than walking. I’ve been doing this since middle school, if not a little bit before that. I grew up around a lot of boys, and my cousin and best friend growing up got me into skateboarding because he thought it would be fun for us to do together,” she reminisces.

“We got some little, plastic skateboards and started watching all the skateboarders. We finally got real skateboards and from that point, it became an everyday thing for us. After that, we became hardcore fans, practicing tricks. It was so much fun and I still love it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing it!” she tells us before skating off for an Art Club meeting. Happy riding, Destiny!

Chaffey Offers New Club for Student Veterans

In fall of 2011, Chaffey Community College partnered with Omnitrans to bring the Go Smart program to its college campus, making it possible for students to take unlimited rides on Omnitrans for a per-semester fee of less than $10.

Now Chaffey is taking the lead in another exciting new program. This semester, in an effort to support the veteran branch of its student population, the Chaffey College Veterans Club was formed. The club is an opportunity for members to collaborate on activities and projects, as well as learn about other groups on campus they can get involved with.

“It lets other students see that our vets have a lot to offer,” said the club’s faculty advisor Daniel Keener. “As an English teacher, I had a lot of vets coming to class and writing narratives about their experiences. I had never been exposed to that before. They had very powerful stories to tell and needed help finding their voice. The Chaffey College Veterans Club provides a supportive environment to explore that.”

This month the club has several student activities planned:

  • November 12th – One Book, One College in partnership with Associated Students of Chaffey College (ASCC) is holding a celebration/recognition for our veterans. Event will be held on campus at the Wignall Museum from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.
  • November 13th – One Book, One College, headed by Professor Julie LaMay, will be hosting several Vietnam War veterans who will give round table discussions about their experiences during the war. Event will be held on campus at the Wignall Museum from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
  • November 14th – Club faculty advisor Daniel Keener will be hosting a movie screening of The War Tapes, a documentary made by soldiers during their deployment in Iraq.

“This is a really great bunch of people,” said Keener. “And we have a lot of fun together. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about life from their stories. When you go through what some of them have been through, it’s incredibly difficult to come back from that to a mundane everyday existence. It’s doubly hard for this group, because they are transitioning not only to civilian life, but to student life as well. I like being there for them on that journey.”

For more information on the Chaffey College Veterans Club and their activities, contact Daniel Keener at Daniel.keener@chaffey.edu.

 

Go Smart, Chaffey College open doors for student

For Rialto resident Eddie Garcia, Omnitrans is all about opportunity. The bus has played a big role in his life and has opened the door to many new experiences.

“I’m Hispanic and come from a typical big Mexican family. There are ten of us living together, my parents, four sisters, three brothers and myself. Me, my mom and a few of my siblings are working right now, and we all help support each other.”

The 19-year-old student recently earned his medical assistant certificate and is interested in continuing his studies to become an RN. Currently he works part time at 7-Eleven and attends part-time classes at Chaffey College.

“One of the things I like about riding the bus is that it breaks down a lot of barriers. No one is better or worse than anyone else–everybody is equal. Because of that, I’ve gotten to know a lot of other students I might not have normally interacted with. Most of my friends are Hispanic, because that’s the community I grew up in. Riding Omnitrans, I had the chance to have conversations with other students from different cultures and really get to know them.  Sometimes we’d end up being a class together the following semester, and it was great to have that connection.”

Eddie Garcia (far right) and his family

As a Chaffey student, Eddie is able to take advantage of the Go Smart program. With Go Smart, students and/or schools pay a per student transportation fee to Omnitrans that allows them unlimited free rides with their student ID.

“Money and lack of a car were always the big obstacles that kept many of my friends from pursuing a college education,” said Eddie. “With Omnitrans and Chaffey supporting something like the Go Smart program, it motivates them to go to school. It gives them an opportunity they wouldn’t normally have.”

“I started at Chaffey right out of high school. Unlike some of the other community colleges I talked to, they took the time to help make the registration process easy and a lot less complicated. There was no long waiting list and their classes fit my schedule. And Go Smart made it affordable. To get from my home in Rialto to school in Rancho Cucamonga meant taking three buses.  I never would have been able to keep up with the fare costs. But because Go Smart let me ride for free with my student ID, that obstacle was gone. It made it possible for me to go to college.”

Although Eddie got a car about a month ago, he says his family still frequently uses the bus. Two of his sisters often take Omnitrans to get to  the charter school they attend in Fontana. “The bus still helps us save time and money. And I like knowing it’s there as a backup in case I need it.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org