Tag Archives: omnitrans riders

Omnitrans express services save long-time commuter money on driving expenses

San Bernardino resident and Omnitrans commuter Wendy.

Every day, gas prices seem to be on the rise, and when you’re commuting to and from work daily, the pump totals start to leave a dent on your bank account. This is the exact reason why born-and-raised San Bernardino resident Wendy Stevens rides the bus to Riverside for her daily commute to work.

When gas prices skyrocketed up to nearly $5.00 per gallon in the late 00’s, Wendy made a change and started to ride Omnitrans to get to work in downtown Riverside. Wendy’s employer, a state agency, reimburses her up to 75% on her bus fare expenses! “My employer made it easy to start riding the bus because they’re really big on promoting rideshare,” says Wendy.

Wendy discovered the convenience and value of ridesharing when she and a group of coworkers approached their designated rideshare representative at work to learn what their options for ridesharing were. They found that carpooling and riding public transit would be the easiest forms of rideshare for them.

At this point, Wendy has been riding with Omnitrans for 10 years, and saves an average of $80 per month just for parking fees, plus additional savings on gas, when she rides with Omnitrans. She is an avid “ridesharer,” and when she does not ride the bus, she carpools home with a coworker.

Freeway Express Route 215 connects Downtown San Bernardino and Downtown Riverside via I-215 Freeway, with limited stops for fast and convenient commuter service.

As a multi-modal commuter, Wendy combines more than one ridesharing option. She starts out her commute by taking advantage of the conveniently located and well-lit Park and Ride lots on E Street. From there, she leaves the driving to Omnitrans by catching sbX and transferring to Freeway Express Route 215, which takes her to downtown Riverside. On her commute home, she mixes it by sometimes carpooling with a co-worker.

Omnitrans’ flexible bus schedules have made it even more convenient for Wendy’s commute. Because her work schedule varies, Wendy is able to take advantage of the span of service hours. Her word of advice to riders: plan ahead and arrive at the stop minutes before the bus arrival time to make sure you are on time.

Wendy is also familiar with Omnitrans’ mobile fares (available on the Token Transit app) and often uses it to pay for and manage her bus passes. She likes that by going paperless, she is joining many other riders who are focusing on being environmentally conscious with a digital pass on their smartphones.

“It’s really convenient because we are all so connected to our phones these days. What would we do with them? We freak out when we don’t have them,” she laughs. “With the Token Transit app, we don’t have to worry about losing the paper pass or having exact cash.”

Mobile Omnitrans bus passes are sold on the free Token Transit app.

Customer feedback, opinions, and suggestions are valued by Omnitrans, and Wendy makes sure to let us know how we’re doing via email updates. She also appreciates the interactions with our drivers and San Bernardino Transit Center customer service staff.

“I like the friendly relationships I’ve created with the staff,” she shares. “One in particular is with Lydia, a now retired driver, and the Route 7 driver in the evening. The bus drivers over the years have been courteous and that means a lot.”

When Wendy isn’t commuting with Omnitrans during the week, she enjoys spending time with her three children, cheering on the Dodgers, and gardening. Wendy has also extended her transit-riding into the weekends, and hopped on the Dodger Express Metrolink train, down to Union Station in Los Angeles, connecting to Dodger Stadium to catch a game.

CSUSB student rides Omnitrans to stay active, avoid parking costs

Jose S. of Rialto has been riding Omnitrans and sbX for four years while working toward his degree in Sociology at California State University, San Bernardino. Even when he used to drive a car to class, Jose preferred to leave it at the free Park & Ride lot at Palm & Kendall, and shuttle down to class on sbX, only a five-minute bus ride to campus.

“Doing this helped me save money on a parking permit and, although for some people it may not be expensive, it also saved me time. Finding parking at such a large university can be pretty hard, even with your parking permit. My first year here, finding parking was easy, but now, when I skate by the parking lot, people will ask me if I am leaving so that they can follow me and take my parking spot,” he laughs.

Those student drivers’ hopes and dreams of snatching that parking space and making it to class on time are crushed when Jose tells them that he’s simply riding his skateboard to the sbX platform.

“Because of GoSmart, I don’t have to pay every time I board. All my money usually goes to school, or food, so it’s neat not having to pay. I’m hyped that I have my student ID card to ride Omnitrans wherever I need to go,” he explains.

“The drivers are sociable and friendly. I appreciate that if I start a conversation, they will engage with me. I also like the features such as the online trip planner and NexTrip text message capability to know how long it will be until your bus arrives. It’s almost always precise, never off by more than a minute.”

Jose got in touch with us via Instagram a few weeks back, where he reached out regarding our student internship opportunities. On his page, he showcases action-packed videos of he and his friends skating and skillfully performing tricks at skate parks.

“This is what I love to do. It’s my passion. Almost 10 years ago, my mom bought me a toy skateboard from Wal-Mart and when we visited my mom’s friend in Fresno, her kids with years of experience got me into skateboarding. I took a spare board that was in their garage since mine was slow compared to theirs, and that’s how I got into it,” he shared with us.

Riding Omnitrans isn’t just for school or work – Route 22 also gets Jose to the skate park where he can live out his passion and stay active. Even his friends have joined in on the fun and convenience of riding Omnitrans to the park. Jose says they were surprised by how different riding the bus was from what they thought.

“Route 22 takes me from my house right to the front of Ferguson Skate Park, which is so convenient. Route 14 takes me to the other skate park in Fontana. I would’ve never thought there would be so many bus stops to my destinations besides school,” he says.

Skating to and from the bus stop not only combines his favorite hobby with transportation, but it helps Jose relieve the stress of college life, especially during final exams. “It’s my form of meditation. Even a simple short ride from class to the bus stop can clear my mind,” he explains.

“I just enjoy riding my skateboard to the bus. This probably sounds weird, but I love the feeling of pressing the yellow strip to request a stop because we’re approaching my destination!” he jokes.

Why do you ride Rt. 290 Freeway Express?

Passengers board Route 290 Freeway Express

Are you a Route 290 Freeway Express rider? We’d love to talk to you about your commuting experience!

One of our Omnitrans team members will be doing  a ride-along Thursday, February 4th to interview some of our regular passengers for a blog article. We look forward to hearing your stories.

The ride-along will start at 7:02 a.m. from the San Bernardino Transit Center and will make the return trip at 8:36 from the Montclair Transit Center. See you then!

Juno Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

October Bus Ridership Highest on Record

San Bernardino, CA–People climbed aboard Omnitrans buses in record numbers during October, with over 1.5 million trips tallied. Along with surpassing the previous top ridership month mark set in October 2001, the transit agency also set a new high for a single day on October 3 with over 68,000 boardings.The month began strong, boosted by promotional efforts tied to Southern California “Rideshare Week” (October 1 -5) which happened to coincide with spiking gasoline prices in California. Boardings jumped 17.5 percent in that first week compared to 2011.  In the end October 2012 finished 9.4 percent ahead of last year.

“We offered a free ride coupon online for Rideshare Week, the same as we have done since 2009,” said Director of Marketing Wendy Williams. “But this year coupon redemption nearly tripled.”

Even after gasoline prices eased and the free ride promotion ended, passenger boardings have remained brisk.  Omnitrans weekday ridership averaged 58,928 for the month.  November seems to be keeping pace with over 65,000 passengers transported on the first day of the month.

“I believe our record ridership demonstrates that people are looking for economical and environmentally friendly transportation.  When people try Omnitrans, they find out we offer great service—on time, friendly drivers, clean buses—and then they keep riding,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager Milo Victoria.

Route and schedule information is available online at www.omnitrans.org or by phone at 1-800-966-6428.

Top Five Ridership Months

Month/Year Fixed Route Ridership
October 2012 1,547,378
October 2001 1,543,869
October 2002 1,484,943
October 2008 1,466,470
August 2001 1,440,920

October Ridership 2008-2012

Month/Year Fixed Route Ridership
October 2012 1,547,378
October 2011 1,414,348
October 2010 1,268,644
October 2009 1,315,612
October 2008 1,466,470

First trip on the Omnitrans New Flyer Xcelsior

Omnitrans New Flyer Xcelsior bus

This afternoon the first of the Omnitrans New Flyer Xcelsior buses hit the streets on its maiden voyage. Passengers on Route 14 were excited and happy to be the first ones to have the opportunity to ride. “We’re making history!” someone shouted from the back of the bus, and everyone laughed.

People loved the new fleet graphics and gave the bus high marks for coolness, comfort and roominess. They can’t wait to ride again!

Driver welcomes passenger aboard the Omnitrans New Flyer Xcelsior busCoach Operator Elaine Sanchez was at the helm of the New Flyer Xcelsior for the historic trip. Elaine was recently honored with the  Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter award for her outstanding customer service.

Omnitrans CEO Milo climbed aboard on his way to a meeting, always happy to get a chance to meet some of our passengers.

This mom and her new baby were among the first passengers to board.

Renee Compton was the first wheelchair passenger on the New Flyer Xcelsior

Mr. Jones was the first bike passenger to join us on the trip. He just recently starting biking and taking Omnitrans to save the expense of gas money.

Click here for more passenger photos.

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