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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.”

Omnitrans Introduces “Don’t Touch the Driver” Safety Campaign

In partnership with WeTip, Inc., Omnitrans is introducing a new safety information campaign, “Don’t Touch the Driver,” on its buses and at transit centers to remind the community that any violence against bus drivers may be a felony offense.

“Driver assaults are infrequent at Omnitrans. Unfortunately they are trending upward. In partnership with WeTip are taking a proactive role to protect our employees and customers,” said Omnitrans Security & Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Mark Crosby.

Campaign materials feature a simple graphic and the information that any assault against a bus driver may result in arrest and prosecution. Anyone who has information that leads to the arrest and conviction of someone responsible for such an incident is eligible to receive a WeTip reward of up to $1,000.

WeTip, Inc. offers an anonymous nationwide crime reporting hotline, 1-800-78-CRIME (1-800-78-27463). Operators are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to take information on crime, including any related to public transit. Calls are completely anonymous.  Tips may also be submitted online at www.wetip.com.

“Don’t Touch the Driver” decals are being placed in each Omnitrans bus, and signage also will appear at transit centers and on the agency website.

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.

2016 – An Omnitrans Year in Review

As 2016 comes to a close, Omnitrans looks back at a year that brought cause for celebration, agency innovations, and resources to better serve our community. While the list of accomplishments is lengthy, we selected six achievements that trump the rest.

San Bernardino Transit Center Turns One – Our transportation hub, the San Bernardino Transit Center, celebrated one year of operation. Since opening its doors in September 2015, nearly 5,000 passengers pass through the SBTC each weekday, connecting to Omnitrans local and express routes as well as neighboring agencies such as Mountain Transit, Victor Valley Transit Authority, and Pass Transit.

Omnitrans celebrated the milestone with a Community Day of live music, refreshments, promotional giveaways, and the Green Scenes Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest. Community members experienced the amenities of the LEED Gold Certified transit center and enjoyed the artistic talents of our participants. Take a trip down memory lane and view our photo album online.

Service to ONT Airport Commences – During fall service changes, Omnitrans Route 80 re-routed to serve Ontario International Airport for the first time in over a decade! In partnership with the airport, Route 80 now makes two stops (one at each terminal) every hour – just one of several planned enhancements to come to the West Valley area in the future.

New Partnership Opens the Bike Hubitat at SBTC – To commemorate Bike Month, Omnitrans joined forces with the Inland Empire Biking Alliance and San Bernardino Generation Now to introduce the Bike Hubitat at the SBTC. The low-cost, DIY workshop teaches community members how to maintain and repair their own bicycles under guidance of knowledgeable IEBA staff, all while utilizing the organization’s tools. The program is ongoing and Omnitrans riders can stop by the Hubitat on any Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 3-6 p.m. for a bike tune-up!

Website Gets a Mobile-Friendly Facelift – To enhance our communication experience with customers, we gave our website a much needed revamp! The creative refresh streamlined our content for easier browsing, but most importantly, our website was optimized for viewing on mobile devices – a major advantage in today’s smartphone-dominated world! If you haven’t already, be sure to visit our website at www.omnitrans.org for travel information, purchasing passes, real-time bus arrivals, and to plan your trip ahead of time.

Welcoming the Special Transportation Services Department – This year, Omnitrans welcomed a new department to our agency. Special Transportation Services (formerly Vtrans) provides one-on-one or group training for seniors and individuals with disabilities to use public transportation, and oversee the Ride Program, which allows taxi fares at a discounted rate for eligible residents who cannot use the bus, among other things.

The new department aims to create programs and provide resources that will provide senior citizens or those living with a disability easy mobility. “If we can give them back some of that freedom, then we’re improving their quality of life which is what it’s all about at the end of the day. How we can improve that is what we’re always going to advocate,” says Director Nathan Churan.

Omnitrans Celebrates 40th Anniversary – Last on our list, but certainly not least, 2016 marked our 40th year serving the San Bernardino Valley! This huge milestone was celebrated throughout the month of October, with customer appreciation giveaways at our transit centers, trivia contests on social media, and a huge online sweepstakes with 40 prizes to give away. Thank you all for celebrating with us! Take a look back at our history and what the outlook is for our next 40 years by watching our 40th Anniversary video.

On to 2017! We look forward to further enhancing transit in the San Bernardino Valley and increasing connectivity, with new Metrolink service at the San Bernardino Transit Center and additional Freeway Express routes – just to name a few of the things we have in store! Thank you for coming along on the ride with us.

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!

Give to the 2016 Spark of Love Toy Drive!

stuff-a-bus

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.