Tag Archives: omnitrans commuter

Mobile fares enhance the Omnitrans experience for commuter

Isaiah of San Bernardino, California has been riding Omnitrans less than a year, but in his short time doing so, has already discovered the plentiful benefits that public transportation provides to riders.

It was a chance encounter, when Isaiah was experiencing car trouble one day. Needing a ride to get to work in Ontario, Isaiah knew that the bus was available as an option, so he visited Omnitrans.org for the latest schedule and has since been making his weekly commute on Omnitrans!

“I’ve only been riding for a few months, but riding the bus is cool! It’s affordable and provides reliable transportation to work during the week. The drivers are very nice and patient with everybody. It’s been really good to me,” he shares with us while waiting for the bus at Ontario Mills one afternoon.

Monday through Friday, Isaiah hops on Freeway Express Route 290 at the San Bernardino Transit Center and gets off at Ontario Mills where he transfers to Route 61 for a short connection to his job site. “Traffic can be pretty stressful at this time of the day, but Freeway Express 290 is great because it can go in the carpool lane and it has limited stops which makes commuting less troublesome.”

Isaiah loads his activated bus pass on his smartphone to show the driver upon boarding Omnitrans.

The Omnitrans passenger service that Isaiah has enjoyed most recently has been our introduction of mobile fares via the Token Transit app. “I get a 7-day pass every week on Token Transit. It’s neat to be able pay with your phone and not have to worry about always having exact cash. I always had to have $18 cash to pay the driver for a pass, but having the mobile fare option has made riding so much easier because I can easily buy the pass with my debit card. And, you don’t need to worry about losing your bus pass, either, because it’s always in your phone.”

Isaiah would like to get a new car soon, but that doesn’t mean his journey with Omnitrans will have to come to an end. “Honestly, when I get a new car, I will continue to take the bus and leave my car at home during the week and only drive on the weekends. It’s more convenient because you don’t have to sit through traffic or spend more money on gas,” he reveals of his future transportation plans.

He also plans to enroll in classes at Valley College in San Bernardino, where he will be entitled to unlimited rides with our GoSmart program for students!

“I’d never ridden the bus before; I just looked up the bus schedules online one day when I needed a ride because my car broke down. I’d never had a reason to ride, but now I would recommend it to others, honestly. It’s affordable, reliable, and saves money,” says Isaiah as he boards Freeway Express 290 to head back home at the end of his work day. See you on the bus tomorrow, Isaiah!

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!

Riders say Route 290 is their commute of choice


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I had the chance to try out the Route 290 Freeway Express this week and interview a few of the regular passengers. All of them share a common thread. They love the quickness and convenience of the Freeway Express and hope that it will expand its service hours.

Jose works in Pomona at Metro PCS where he installs cell phones and helps tailor affordable plans for people who have limited resources. The cost of car repairs and gas is too high for him right now. Taking his own vehicle would cost him around $30 every couple of days. Since Omnitrans introduced its Route 290 Freeway Express last September, he’s been a regular passenger.

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“The 290 makes a big difference in cost, and it cuts the ride in half,” he explains. “I used to have to take three buses to get to work.  I was spending four hours out of every day on the bus. That’s a lot of time.”

“As soon as I heard about the Route 290, I was ready to hop right on it!” Jose laughs. “Forget about spending all that boring time on the long route! I’m going to take the short route!”

Now to get to his job, he takes Route 290 from San Bernardino to Pomona, then Foothill Transit Route 187 to Gary and Foothill. He couldn’t be happier.

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“All of us regulars have been talking about how we wish it would run all day. Sometimes I’ll see people waiting at the bus stop in the afternoon around 12:00 or 1:00. They haven’t read the bus book, so they don’t realize it just runs early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Once you tell them, you get some upset people and others who are like ‘Oh okay, I didn’t know. I was one of those people back when it first started. But I caught on real quick,” Jose laughs.

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San Bernardino resident Beatrice just started riding the 290 around 3 weeks ago when she started a new job an office assistant at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. It’s a work experience position and extremely important to her.

“I was taking Route 1, which got me there around 7:40. But I start work at 8:00, and I like to be early. Then someone told me about the 290 and how it got there faster—a whole 50 minutes faster than Route 1!” She laughs. “Yeah, that’s why I started taking it. It’s one straight shot. The 290’s not available when I get off work in the afternoon, so I do have to take the 1 home then.  It would be great if the 290 ran all day.”

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Montclair resident Andrew is taking the 290 to San Bernardino so he can visit friends in Colton. He’s a father of 5, and Omnitrans has been the family’s primary mode of transportation for the past five years.

“I’m working right now towards getting a car. I used to study welding at Summit College in San Bernardino and am looking for work. I’d actually like to find a job with a shipyard. The pay is really good and so are the hours.”

Andrew is a big fan of the Freeway Express.

“If the 290 would run all day, it would be nice. I don’t really like catching the 66 because it’s a long ride. If the 290 expanded its hours, it would be more crowded. It’s a lot more convenient—easier and faster.”

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Passenger Mike  is also regular Route 290 commuter. He shared some of his thoughts about the service in a recent email to us.

“The 290 drivers that I’ve ridden with since the service started have been impressively professional drivers; I feel safer with them driving than if I were to drive.  It’s easy to forget that I’m on the freeway because of the smoothness of the travel.

I also appreciate very much how early the 290 starts its eastward trips.  They are earlier than the Metrolink that I used to use—much earlier after some schedule changes that Metrolink made.

The Wi-Fi is not essential, but I like having it; I’ve used it with an interactive language-learning website that requires a live connection.  It’s so much more comfortable to read or to use the Internet while commuting than to drive.

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If asked, I can only think of two things that I believe could make the 290 better:

  • Schedule the first eastbound bus to arrive a few minutes earlier in San Bernardino.  Its scheduling was improved last month to arrive at exactly the same time as my next bus—the 8—is scheduled to leave.  Lately, I’ve been just barely able to catch the earlier 8, and it shortens my commute by 40 minutes.  I am grateful for that; with the original 290 schedule, the 8 was driving away from the terminal each morning as the 290 arrived.
  • Give the drivers freeway blockage information and map-routing devices.  The drivers have impressed me with their ability to take local roads to get around closed freeway sections, but it would help them if they had an early warning of closures, etc.”

Omnitrans appreciates all of the customer feedback we are receiving on the Route 290 Freeway Express, and will keep your suggestions in mind when planning the next service change!

Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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Professional commuter chooses public transit

Commuter Mark Adelson is a San Bernardino resident who works in Riverside for the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. As section chief, he covers environmental science issues, water quality and permitting.

“My family’s roots are here in San Bernardino,” says Mark. “I grew up here, as did my two kids,  and I attended Cal State San Bernardino. My wife was born here and is the director of a local churched-based pre-school. We feel very connected to this area.”

For years, Mark relied on his car for the busy work commute. On a few rare occasions, he also tried the bus. He remembers being anxious, wondering what it would be like and if he would have to wait for a long time.

“Those were concerns that were actually pretty easy to overcome because everything is set up to make it simple for riders. The Omnitrans bus book, especially, is a wonderful tool. I’m basically a map guy and found the system map to be very helpful.”

Finally about seven or eight years ago, Mark decided that maybe it was time to make the switch from driving a car to taking Omnitrans for his work commute.

“Cost savings was a big factor,” he admits. “And I also wanted to commute in a more environmentally responsible way. In the end, it was the realization that I could save at least $150 a month that motivated me to make the change. On weekdays, I drive to the 4th Street Transit Center where I park my car for the day.  Then I take the bus to downtown Riverside. I mainly use my car on the weekends or for scooting around town. I like that I don’t have to deal with heavy commuter traffic or worry about parking issues in Riverside.”

Now instead of battling rush hour, Mark relaxes with his Kindle, reading books or news stories. Sometimes he’ll spend the time reading work reports or newsletters, and other times he’ll just sightsee. It’s a routine he’s become very comfortable with.

He offers this candid advice to other commuters who are considering the switch to public transit.

“By taking the bus, you do exchange some of the freedom you’re used to when you have a car at your beck and call. You also give up the convenience of not going exactly where you want to go, exactly when you want to go there. Still, for those people who can arrange their schedules, it’s a great solution that can save them a lot of money, eliminate traffic and parking hassles, and help the environment at the same time.”

–Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org