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OmniGo Ridership on the Rise

Community bus routes attract more students. 

(San Bernardino, CA)— OmniGo hometown shuttle routes serving Chino Hills, Grand Terrace and Yucaipa are more crowded these days, with September ridership up 44 percent compared to the prior year, mostly attributed to more middle school and high school students climbing aboard.

“We made a concentrated effort to reach out to potential student riders at the beginning of the school year,” explained Omnitrans Director of Marketing Wendy Williams, “and it paid off.  August ridership was up nearly 10 percent ahead of last year, but things really took off in September. ”

OmniGo Route Sept. 2013 Ridership Gain from Sept. 2012
308-Yucaipa 1,762 +44.4%
309-Yucaipa 3,966 +24.4%
310-Yucaipa 1,212 +373.4%
325-Grand Terrace 1,834 +67.9%
365-Chino Hills 5,947 +32.9%
Total 14,721 +43.9%

OmniGo routes travel to major destinations in each community, connecting residents to schools, civic centers, senior centers, medical facilities and shopping destinations.  OmniGo utilizes 16-passenger buses that can more easily maneuver residential streets than typical transit buses.  Each OmniGo route meets up with traditional Omnitrans bus routes at transfer hubs to reach destinations throughout the Inland Empire. OmniGo route and schedule information is available at: http://www.omnitrans.org/services/omnigo/

Conflicting family work schedules and limited transportation is challenge for many families these days, especially with getting teens to school.  “I just started taking OmniGo as a freshman last year,” said Jessica a student at Chino Hills High School. “Most of my friends ride too. Both of my parents work so it’s the only way I can get here.”

Her friend Yahaira agreed. “It gets really full sometimes but, aside from that, it’s not bad. It’s a short bus, so it’s kind of fun. My mom works at a store in Chino and has to drive to work early in the morning, and there’s no one else to give me a ride. Since the school is 2 or 3 miles from my house, I just take the bus.”

“It’s great that students are taking advantage of OmniGo’s convenient connections at our schools,” said Chino Hills Vice Mayor and Omnitrans Board member Ed Graham.  “Fewer cars on the road benefit all of us.”

In Grand Terrace, OmniGo attracted more than two thirds additional riders this year. “Route 325 was designed to serve Grand Terrace High School, even before the campus opened,” explained Grand Terrace Mayor Walt Stanckiewitz and Omnitrans Board member.  “This year, student ridership has blossomed.  OmniGo also is a great resource for our senior citizens.”

Lee Roy Simmons

Lee Roy Simmons, a resident of Blue Mountain Senior Villas in Grand Terrace, is a familiar face on Omnigo Route 325. “I ride the loop most mornings,” he says. “I like the drivers. Most of them know me, and we talk during stop layovers.” Lee is also a former Marine Sergeant who fought in Vietnam. “I ride to the VA hospital in Loma Linda all the time for treatments.”

With three shuttle routes, (308, 309 and 310) operating in the city, Yucaipa generates the most OmniGo ridership.  Route 310 boardings nearly quadrupled in September versus the same month in 2012.

OmniGo fares are the same as on regular Omnitrans buses: $1.50 for a one-way trip or $4 for a one-day pass.  Regular riders can save with 7- and 31-day passes.  Discounts are available for youth age 18 and under, persons with disabilities and seniors age 62 and up.  Personalized trip planning is available at www.omnitrans.org or 1-800-966-6428.

Meeting student transportation needs

Conflicting family work schedules and limited transportation is a big issue for many families these days–especially those with teens who need to get to school. We recently stopped by Chino Hills High School and talked to a few of the students who rely on OmniGo Route 365 to help them get to their classes.

“My mom works at Cedar Sinai,” says 14-year-old Elena. “She has to be at work really early and isn’t out in time to pick me up from school. So I ride OmniGo.  I don’t mind, really. A lot of my friends take the bus too so it gives us a chance to hang out.”

Her friend Yahaira agrees. “It gets really full sometimes but, aside from that, it’s not bad. It’s a short bus, so it’s kind of fun. My mom works at a store in Chino and has to drive to work early in the morning, and there’s no one else to give me a ride. Since the school is 2 or 3 miles from my house, I just take the bus.”

“I just started taking OmniGo as a freshman last year,” says Jessica. “I love it. Most of my friends ride too. Both of my parents work so it’s the only way I can get here.”

Brandy, who is finishing up her senior year, says this is her 4th year riding OmniGo. ” I don’t have my own car, so I pretty much rely on the bus to get where I need to go. I’ll probably still be using it once I graduate.”

OmniGo a lifeline for Grand Terrace Seniors

Lee Roy Simmons , a resident of Blue Mountain Senior Villas in Grand Terrace, is a familiar face on Omnigo Route 325. “I ride the loop most mornings,” he says. “I like the drivers. Most of them know me, and we talk during stop layovers. I also like catching  up with the other regulars on the route. I’ve always been a social person and like meeting new people.”

A former cop, Lee was forced to retire from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department when a drunk driver slammed into his patrol car. He was thrown from the vehicle, severely injuring his back upon impact. He’s proud of his service as a Deputy Sheriff. “I was the cop who never moved out of the hood.  Unlike a lot of others, I stayed in the same neighborhood I grew up in. Drug dealers, hookers, gang bangers–everybody knew me. I was a good cop, an honest cop, and people respected me for it.”

Lee is also a former Marine Sergeant who fought for  more than 2 years in Vietnam. “I have to to the VA hospital in Loma Linda all the time for treatments,” he says. “I have asthma, emphysema, COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease]  and black lung disease, which I got from breathing in smoke from bombs we used in the war.”

“This is why OmniGo gives me such a peace. I have no other way to get to where I need to go,” Lee explains. “I can’t drive, and I can’t even walk a block. I can’t do anything without having that bus to make the trek down the hill. It’s that important.”

Samella Hendrix, another Blue Mountain Senior Villas resident, agrees.”We can’t get around without OmniGo,” she said simply. “I’ve had a couple of strokes that prevent me from standing or walking for very long. The Access bus is $2.50 each way but that’s way too expensive for those of us on a limited income. I like to get out to go to church, bowling, and the theatre, but without OmniGo for transportation, I’d be stuck.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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