Tag Archives: omnitrans sbx launch

Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter Don Frazier

omnitrans employee of the quarter don fraizier

Interim Director of Operations Diane Caldera, Employee of the Quarter Don Frazier, Board Chair Alan Wapner, and Director of HR Marjorie Ewing

On May 9th, Fleet Safety and Training Supervisor Don Frazier was named Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter for his dedication and invaluable contributions to success of the agency. His emphasis is always on the rider experience and on ensuring that our coach operators have the tools they need to be safe and successful. His knowledge, experience, professionalism, humor, friendly demeanor and willingness to always go the extra mile makes him an outstanding ambassador for Omnitrans and has earned the respect of his peers.

Don’s career in the transit industry has spanned more than 39 years and includes 24 years with LA Metro. His biggest challenge and one his proudest accomplishments has been his role in the launch of our new sbX BRT line.

Don frazier driving sbx

Don assisted with launch preparations for our sbX service by testing vehicle features and identifying potential problems along the corridor. He also served as the driver for our sbX safety video and VIP tours.

Don was responsible for training his team, as well as our field supervisors, maintenance crews and other key agency staff, on the operation of the articulated coaches. He personally developed an in-depth, hands-on training program for our sbX coach operators to ensure they had the skills necessary to safely and efficiently run the route. He also tested vehicle features and helped identify potential problems along the corridor. So much was new for us: longer coaches, rear fare validators, interior bike racks, rear-facing wheelchair securement, bus only lanes, center stations, level docking and traffic signal prioritizations. Thanks to Don’s program and his excellent 5-person training team, our operators were well prepared for launch of service.

Don and the training team frequently do free wheelchair strap installations for Omnitrans riders to ensure they can be safely and easily secured on the buses.

“It was a huge amount of work,” admits Don. “And it was definitely a team effort. I had to ask a lot of my training staff. Many times they had to give up a day off or come in at 3 or 4 in the morning just so we could cover everything that had to be done. Often we had multiple training sessions going on at once: student coach operator training, sbX coach operator training, route training classes, and coach operator instructor classes. It was a grind, but we got through it. They are an amazing group of people and none of this could have been done without their help.”

Omitrans fleet safety and training team

The training team: Charles Molloy, Verretta Johnson, Kimberly Perkins Don Frazier, Christina Diaz and Stephen McClure

One thing immediately evident to anyone who works with any of the training staff is their supportiveness and dedication to their students. That mentoring process means a lot to Don.

“Students tend to come in with that deer in the headlights look, feeling nervous and unsure of themselves,” Don smiles. “I always tell them, give us one year. You’ll see everything and experience everything and see if this is really for you. Recently a student from my very first training class here reminded me of that. She’s been here 12 years now. She told that she owes a lot of what she has to what she learned from me. That can’t help but make you feel good. You’re making a difference in other people’s lives, seeing them become happier and more confident.”

Trainer Christina Diaz congratulates Don after the award presentation.

Don believes a good work ethic and a positive attitude are critical for student coach operators.

“The toughest part of the job for me is when I have to tell a student they’re not cutting it. I want to help people be successful. If you are lacking in driving skills but are willing to learn and have a great attitude, I’ll even come in on the weekend and work with you to help you get this job. But if you don’t have the right mindset or the proper attitude coming in the door, then you simply won’t be a good fit. Not everyone is cut out to be a coach operator. It’s a tough job. You have to have good people skills and good driving skills. It’s a great job, but it’s also hard.”

Don is looking forward to adding a new resource to the training arsenal very soon. Thanks to a federal grant, Omnitrans will be getting an on-premises coach simulator tailored specifically to real life agency vehicles and routes. It’s something he has lobbied for over many years, and he is excited to see it about to become a reality.

Don and his wife Audrey enjoy a moment together on board sbX. The couple has been married for 42 years and have one son and one daughter. They regularly share their home with foreign exchange students and are looking forward to meeting two new students who will be joining them soon from Japan.

“This is the next wave of technology,” says Don. “It will bump our training up to a whole new level and save the agency a lot of money. Right now it costs $90 an hour to run a bus. Putting a student on a coach simulator doesn’t cost the agency anything. It’s an excellent defensive driving tool and will allow us to test the reaction times of student coach operators. The system can also be hooked up so that other students can observe the driver in the simulator as part of the learning experience. Normally this technology costs between $130,000 to $200,000, but we are getting it for $20,000—all of which is covered by a federal grant. It’s an incredible opportunity for us.”

Don and Audrey Frazier on the sbX Green Line

sbX rapid transit gearing up for week 2

omnitrans sbX passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Thanks to everyone who came out this week to try out the new sbX Green Line. We had a chance to chat with many of our Omnitrans regulars and had the opportunity to visit with a few new faces as well!

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

It’s been an exciting first week.  We are still working through some of the timing and technical issues that we had anticipated with launch of service. Everything is being monitored closely, and each day it’s getting a little better. Our coach operators have been doing their best to keep things rolling on schedule. We appreciate your understanding as we work out the kinks and get a little history under our belts.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Beginning Monday, sbX will begin accepting fares. The cost to ride is the same as for our regular Omnitrans routes, and the same passes will be accepted. Passengers now have the option of purchasing passes at one of the ticket vending machines conveniently located at any sbX station using a credit or debit card.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Our friendly sbX ambassadors will continue to be available for one more week to answer questions and guide you through the new service. Monday and Tuesday they will be at the stations during peak service hours (6:00-9:00 a.m.; 2:00-6:00 p.m. NB, 3:00-6:00 SB). On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday they will be on board the buses. They’ll be easy to spot—look for people wearing yellow safety vests and sbX ambassador pins.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you have the Omnitrans app on your phone? If you do, you can pull up our sbX page, bus book and NexTrip real-time bus arrival information. sbX is listed as route 202 in NexTrip. Please remember that NexTrip is a prediction based technology. By knowing where a bus is on the route, it can predict its time of arrival at the next stop. Because we only have a few days history with sbX, times may be slightly off for now. Accuracy will improve once we have another week’s worth of data to support it.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

As a reminder, we do offer free Wi-Fi on board. You can also take advantage of the power outlets above the seats to charge your smart devices. Interior bike racks are available for cyclists.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Thanks to everyone who allowed us to take their photo. We’ve had a lot fun talking with you and getting your feedback on sbX. We look forward to serving you again on Inland Southern California’s first bus rapid transit service.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

photos by Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Construction Ends, sbX Service Launches April 28

Whether you have been following sbX construction since the groundbreaking or are new to learning about the service, we’ve got great news to report! The Omnitrans sbX Green Line Bus Rapid Transit Service launches this month, connecting riders to key destinations between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda. To prepare for start of service on April 28, 2014, construction crews and project management have been busy finalizing items such as fine-tuning electrical components at station locations and at intersections with Traffic Signal Prioritization, keeping up with landscape maintenance, installing various safety features such as railings to prevent jaywalking, and restriping select roadway along the corridor.

For the most part, minimal construction activities are limited to daytime hours between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Traffic control has been lifted along the corridor and you may notice some 60-foot sbX buses driving alongside you at times. As a reminder, buses are being tested and are on the road daily. Important to note, even though construction is winding down, public outreach representatives are still available via the project helpline at (855) SBX-NEWS (729-6397). We’re on board to answer your construction and service related questions until May 2014.

– Kelly Koehler
kkoehler@westboundcommunications.com

Final sbX Paving & Striping In San Bernardino

The intersection at Marshall Blvd. and E Street was recently paved, providing a smooth drive for motorists and bicyclists.

During the past month, construction crews reached a major milestone by completing most of the paving and striping work that remained in the City of San Bernardino. This included areas along the northern part of the route such as Little Mountain Avenue, Shandin Hills Drive, Marshall Boulevard and between 10th Street and 4th Street. The final layer of pavement provides a smooth road for motorists and bicyclists. In addition, striping has been placed along E Street from Hospitality Lane to 10th Street – clearing defining the center-running lane areas where buses will run.

-Robert Chevez
rchevez@westboundcommunications.com

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sbX Construction Activities Coming to A Close

Major roadway construction is now complete as streets have been paved and striped along the sbX corridor.

The New Year brings great excitement for the Omnitrans sbX team. Just under two years since the start of construction, major roadway construction is complete. Final work on the construction crew’s to-do list includes installation of station artwork, map cases and graphics of the new system, station seating, plus final landscaping and sign installation to make navigating the corridor easy. We’re so close to start of service that next month you will begin to see buses being tested on the road. With this new activity, it is especially important for motorists to pay close attention to the new rules of the road and to stay out of the dedicated bus lanes.

-Robert Chevez
rchevez@westboundcommunications.com

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!

Visit Omnitrans sbX on Facebook
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