Tag Archives: omnitrans sbx brt

Omnitrans VMF construction continues

VMF work continues at Omnitrans’ West 5th Street facility

Work is continuing on the Omnitrans vehicle maintenance facility (VMF) at Fifth Street and Medical Center in San Bernardino to make the modifications and upgrades necessary to accommodate the agency’s fourteen  60-foot articulated sbX vehicles.  

The bus yard parking area was restriped earlier this year

Earlier this year, the parking area of the bus yard was re-striped and equipped with new light fixtures. The electricals are still pending. Trash compactors to reduce the frequency of trash collection have been installed but are not yet operational. A new bus wash and modification of maintenance bays are still pending.

Demolition of the old fuel island

This month the old fuel island was demolished and the transition was made to a new temporary fueling station on the east side of the lot.

New lights have been installed and the temporary fueling station is now operational.

Underground diesel fuel storage tanks that are no longer used have been safely removed by construction crews. The next task will be the demolition of the old bus wash. All work on the VMF project will be completed by mid-2014.

Underground diesel storage tank removal

For more photos of our VMF construction project click here.

E Street Center-Lane, Station Work Continues

Asphalt is laid on the area of center-running lanes on E Street at 10th Street north of downtown San Bernardino.

During the past few weeks, crews have been working daily on E Street in the center-running lane area between Rialto Ave and just north of 10th Street to reinforce the road. Several layers of support have been placed with an intermediate top layer of asphalt. A final layer of asphalt will be placed in the coming months so there is a smooth and even driving road for motorists.

Paver and handrails installed on North Mall Way station platform.

Work also has begun on the final sbX station in San Bernardino at Baseline Street and E Street. Construction activities for the northbound station are in full swing for the coming months. Crews are working rapidly on the station structure so that the new sidewalk can be built and opened to pedestrians.

On the south end of E Street, a safety handrail has been placed on both sides of the pedestrian walkway at the North Mall Way sbX station. This provides the public an idea of the features that will be installed at other center-running-lane stations on the corridor.

-Kelly Koehler


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CSUSB Platform Infrastructure Installed

The ticket vending machine, LED arrival/departure sign and security cameras have been installed at the CSUSB sbX station.

The latest work at the CSUSB sbX station is now giving the public a better look at the electrical station components that differentiate the bus rapid transit (BRT) service from regular bus service. During the past month, crews have begun installing the electronic ticket vending machines, LED arrival and departure signs, security cameras and 24/7 emergency call lines at the CSUSB station as well as the Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue park-and-ride facility. In the coming weeks, the electrical components will be energized with testing to take place in the coming months.

LED Arrival/Departure Sign

Further south along the sbX corridor on E Street in San Bernardino, crews continue to work on the new curb, gutter and sidewalk on the east side of the street between 6th Street and 2nd Street. In early July, northbound E Street will be closed between 2nd Street and Court Street for approximately two weeks so construction workers can make improvements that will also include street paving. As a detour, motorists can use D Street to the east. Businesses will be open during this time and parking will continue to be available at the Civic Center parking structure. In addition, northbound E Street between Court Street and 6th Street will close nightly between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. for similar work.

-Robert Chevez

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Work Begins at Loma Linda Park/Ride Station

Crews work on the footing for the new sbX station on the west side of Anderson Street near Redlands Boulevard.

Construction crews have begun working on the fifth and final sbX station platform in Loma Linda, on the west side of Anderson Street near Redlands Boulevard in front of the future park-and-ride location.

The station footing and concrete slab already have been poured. The last week in June will have crews working on forming the planters with rebar and pouring the concrete walls.

In early July, workers will begin placing the steel structure at this sbX station location. Elsewhere in Loma Linda, station work will continue at east Anderson Street and Redlands Boulevard, Anderson Street and Prospect Avenue, and Barton Road and Benton Street.

-Robert Chevez

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Rohan Kuruppu: Planning Director & Father of sbX


Omnitrans Planning Director Rohan Kuruppu is something of a Renaissance man. He makes exotic wines, enjoys extreme adventure travel and is working on restoring his 100-year-old home. But his passion is public transit.

“Transit has been a big part of my life from childhood,” says Kuruppu. “I was born in Sri Lanka where 98% of the people use public transit. There, transit is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and runs very frequently. It is something you are born into. From the time you are a child, the routes, the numbers and the network is all in your head like a second language. Nobody needs maps or bus books. This concept of informing people and marketing transit is foreign to that culture. It is the complete opposite from here, where 98% of people use cars and only 2% use transit.”

As a young student, Kuruppu originally planned to become a lawyer and came to San Bernardino to study pre-law at Cal State University. While at the university, he took a part-time job with Omnitrans in gathering and analyzing information as an on-board transit checker. Transit checkers were the precursor to automated passenger counters, and it was common practice for agencies at that time to hire students to ride the buses and physically count the number of people getting on and off.

Kuruppu had been working for Omnitrans for several months when the 1991 American Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed. “My boss approached me and said, ‘Hey, you’re a law student. Why don’t you look over these new laws and prepare a plan for Omnitrans.’“ Kuruppu laughs. “So I read the American Disabilities Act from top to bottom, reviewed all our existing policies on how we accommodated existing passengers and worked up a plan. He was so impressed that he gave me other tasks. Before long he really encouraged me to become a transit planner instead of a lawyer.”

Because Kuruppu was doing so well and was so passionate about transit, his boss sent him to an American Public Transportation Association (APTA) conference. At one of the workshops, Kuruppu had to stand and introduce himself to the other attendees. “I explained I was planning to go to law school but that my boss had asked me to become a transit planner. Everyone said, ‘Not a lawyer! We have enough lawyers.’ I said well, in that case, I will become a transit planner! Everyone clapped and jumped to their feet and cheered ‘hey—we’ve got another planner!’” Kuruppu laughs.

“So I gave up law school and began building on my graduate degree. I had my Associates’ degree in electrical engineering and strong analytical and planning skills from my experience with traffic engineering and signal design. My political science, pre-law studies and policy training gave me a good foundation on laws and regulations. They were all a natural fit into transit planning. After that I got my Masters in Public Policy and Public Administration. Now here I am. I love what I do and it was the best decision I ever made!”

Of his many accomplishments, Kuruppu is most proud of his role as father of the new sbX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line which Omnitrans will launch in January 2014. It is the first of its kind express service to be constructed in the Inland Empire.

The sbX BRT line  is the beginning of an intermodal public transit system in the San Bernardino Valley that will reduce vehicle congestion while providing the public an environmentally friendly alternative that is sophisticated, cost effective, and time efficient.

This express service will serve a 15.7-mile corridor that spans between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda. It will include 16 art-inspired stations at key university, government, business, entertainment and medical centers as well as four park-and-ride facilities.

Juno Kughler Carlson

Rohan was recently featured in this People in Transit video
from Mass Transit Magazine.

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Students to Save Money, Time with sbX

Jaasiel Marron

Jaasiel Marron drives to California State University, San Bernardino from his home in Beaumont – but only half way.

Instead, the junior mathematics major finds an all-day parking spot near the VA Loma Linda Health Care System and boards Omnitrans Route 2, which takes him to the entrance to campus in a little more than an hour.

“It’s worth it,” Marron said. “With the cost of a student parking permit at $102 a quarter, I save money not having to park on campus. I also save on the cost of gas driving all the way from home.”

In about a year from now, Marron will be able to save time, as well. That’s when passenger service begins for the first corridor of Omnitrans’ express service called sbX. Construction is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, followed by two to three months of start-up, testing and training.

Route 2 service, which stops on average every third of a mile, will remain on the corridor at reduced service intervals (20 to 30 minutes). Because the bus rapid transit (BRT) service will have fewer stops (once a mile, on average); exclusive lanes along Hospitality Lane and much of E Street; and the ability to get through intersections with traffic-signal priority, Marron will find his commute time cut by nearly half. The BRT line also will run every 10 minutes during peak traffic hours, so he won’t have to worry about missing a departure.

“I can’t wait for this new service,” he said.

– David Rutherford

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Loh Joins sbX Team as Chief Engineer

Engineering Services Manager Teck Loh is the newest member of the Omnitrans sbX Integrated Project Management Office staff. His main roles are to manage the project’s design processes and to provide support to the construction management team.

“This (sbX project) is unique for Southern California because of its dedicated lanes, which you don’t see much of outside of Los Angeles,” said Loh, a resident of Chino Hills. “It’s a fantastic project that will put Omnitrans and the cities of San Bernardino and Loma Linda on the transit map.”

Loh, a registered engineer with a LEED-AP designation, has 23 years of experience in construction. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from California State University, Long Beach and has a diverse construction background that includes both structural and roadway work.. He has served in numerous capacities as a consultant and an employee with several construction firms.

All of Loh’s previous projects have been in the Inland Empire, including the SR-91 Freeway HOV widening project between Riverside and Corona; the SR-79 construction between Beaumont and San Jacinto; major street improvements; and transit-oriented development (TOD).

–David Rutherford

sbX to Complement Route 2 VA Service

The sbX station at the VA Hospital in Loma Linda will feature color seals depicting each branch of the Armed Forces on glass panels.

When construction for the Omnitrans sbX is complete and service begins in early 2014, veterans and staff traveling to the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center (VA Hospital) will benefit from a new station at Barton Road and Benton Street.

Artist rendering of the structural monument that will be located at the sbX VA Loma Linda station.

Like all 16 stations along the 15.7-mile sbX corridor, it will include public art. At the VA Hospital, the station artwork pays tribute to our armed forces by displaying the seals of each military branch. There will also be a structural monument that will have an American flag and dog tags spiraling down the flag pole.

Currently, Omnitrans serves many our veterans in the region each day by providing them with dependable and affordable public transportation. Whether commuting to work or school, going to medical appointments, or traveling to veterans’ service organizations, Omnitrans is committed to meeting veteran ridership needs – and the future sbX service will do just that.

Richard Curtis, U.S. Army (Ret.)

“To tell you the truth, I’d rather ride Omnitrans than ride a car,” said Richard Curtis, U.S. Army veteran and former Vietnam POW. “The bus drivers are always courteous and friendly. It’s pretty efficient and I can always make my appointments on time.”

The new sbX service will reduce travel time along the corridor as it will stop at one-mile intervals versus fixed route service that stops approximately every one-third of a mile. Additionally, the specialized sbX buses will have traffic priority signalization technology that allows it to

Levi Lane, U.S. Navy (Ret.), served on the USS Kitty Hawk.

with traffic management systems so that as buses approach intersections, the signal will keep the green and yellow light on longer so that it can pass through safely.

Riders like Navy veteran Levi Lane, who combine public bus transit with cycling, will also benefit from the sbX line’s interior bike racks. “I bike or take Omnitrans wherever I have to go. It’s good to have the bus to fall back on whenever you need it,” said Lane.

Robin Bose, a 17-year Omnitrans Coach Operator, was a helicopter crew chief in the U.S. Army.

There will be two interior bike racks that will accommodate four bikes apiece. In addition, the front of the sbX bus has fold-up seats to accommodate up to four wheelchairs.

Employing Our Veterans

Once construction of the sbX line is completed, it will be turned over to Omnitrans for service and operation. Omnitrans is privileged to have 90 employees who are also military veterans. Just as they served our country in a variety of ways, these veterans are deployed in a variety of roles at Omnitrans,

Diane Caldera served 29 years in the Air Force and is currently a Major in the Active Reserve. She joined Omnitrans in 2005 as a coach operator and is now an Assistant Transportation Manager.

from Coach Operator to Equipment Mechanic, Department Director and more. One employee is currently on active duty and two are on active reserve. Omnitrans is proud to employ our veterans and looks forward to providing sbX service to veterans to the VA Hospital in Loma Linda.

–David Rutherford