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Omnitrans offers free mobile day pass for Earth Week 2019

Don’t normally ride transit? Be kind (and overall awesome) to the Earth and ride Omnitrans free the week of Earth Day – April 22-26, 2019!

Our transportation use is responsible for 26% of greenhouse gases emitted in the United States. Riding Omnitrans for just one day, instead of driving your car, cuts carbon emissions by 20 pounds. Over a year, that translates to nearly 5,000 pounds of emissions! Our fleet of 178 transit buses is powered by natural gas, resulting in less pollution, which means cleaner air for us all to breathe.

If we’ve convinced you to go green for Earth Week, here’s how to redeem your mobile 1-day pass:

  • Download the free Token Transit app by texting TOKEN to 41411 or click here from your smartphone.
  • Once your account is created, visit www.tokentransit.com/omniearthweek2019 to access the free pass beginning on April 22. One per person.
  • That’s it. That’s the trick. You’re ready to save on gas and leave your car at home. Simply flash your paperless pass to the driver when boarding Omnitrans.

But wait – there’s more! We want you to let the world know what you’re doing to honor it and help preserve it. Omnitrans will be giving away three pairs of Regal Cinemas movie tickets to randomly drawn winners. To participate:

  • Post a photo of your act of kindness to the planet on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, tagging @Omnitrans. This can be a selfie of you riding the bus or picking up trash at a bus stop or transit center, for example.
  • The picture must be shared during Earth Week, April 22-26, 2019. The three winners will be chosen and contacted on Monday, April 29, 2019.

For personalized trip planning assistance, use the online Trip Planner at Omnitrans.org, or give us a call at 1-800-966-6428. The free day pass is good on any of the Omnitrans bus routes, including sbX rapid transit and OmniGo community shuttles, but not on Access paratransit service.

If your transit commute requires train and bus, Metrolink is offering free rides on Monday, April 22, 2019. For those details, visit Metrolink.com.

Long-time rider works toward teaching dreams with help from Omnitrans

It is possible to navigate the Inland Empire without a car! Just ask Favian C., a long-time Omnitrans rider living in San Bernardino.

Every day, Favian rides his bike to the bus stop, where Omnitrans connects him wherever he needs to go, primarily to work at a local elementary school, where he is currently a teacher’s aide.

“I don’t own a car right now, so it’s convenient to ride the bus. I mostly go to work and back home. Occasionally, I ride to meet up with friends after work or on weekends, so I’m happy that sbX now runs on Saturdays. I’ve been riding since it launched in 2014, so I look forward to riding it on the weekend,” he says.

Favian has been an Omnitrans rider for six years, having lived in San Bernardino, Colton, and Redlands his entire life. The improvements and enhancements to our system since then have made riding the bus a viable transportation option for him.

“I remember the old bus stop hub near the Regal Cinema, before the San Bernardino Transit Center opened. It’s been a major help having everything in a centralized location now. Navigating and transferring is much easier, and the transit center makes a positive difference in the community.”

With the help of NexTrip real-time bus arrival information on the Omnitrans mobile app and bike racks on the buses, Favian can manage his time wisely while saving money on car expenses as he readies himself to go back to school next year. He has his sights set on California State University, San Bernardino.

“I will be going back to school at Cal State University, San Bernardino within the next year, so I know riding the bus will make a big impact in my education. I used to attend The Art Institute, so I know about the GoSmart program that allows students to ride free.”

Currently, Favian assists elementary school teachers in the classroom and works individually with 4-5 students per day. “I tutor the students who need the most help, which can be a challenge at times. Some may not want to do the extra work, so my job isn’t only to tutor, but also to motivate and inspire.”

“Since high school, I’ve wanted to become a teacher because they have the power to make a positive impact in the community. I would like to positively impact future students the same way my teachers impacted me,” he says.

“I love what I do. It does not feel like work. If you do something that you truly love, it hardly seems like work at all.”

Enjoy Free Transportation, Prize Drawings, and Tickets to CSUSB Basketball Fun!

This month, sbX is partnering with Cal State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) Basketball to support the Coyote women’s and men’s teams – and you are invited to join in on the fun!

Free game tickets and free direct transportation to campus on sbX are available to Military Appreciation Night Presented By The US Army & Omnitrans on Saturday, January 26, 2019. Additionally, there are some exclusive opportunities available to Omnitrans and sbX riders to enhance the fan experience!

Women’s Team vs. Sonoma State at CSUSB Coussoulis Arena, 1 p.m.

Directly followed by:
Men’s Team vs. Sonoma State at CSUSB Coussoulis Arena, 3 p.m.

Free tickets to the game can be obtained at the San Bernardino Transit Center customer service window on a first come, first served basis (8 maximum per person) starting today. sbX rapid transit is free on Saturday, January 26th and provides direct service to the CSUSB campus so you don’t need to worry about driving or paying for parking.

As if that weren’t enough, you have the chance to participate in some very cool activities and win prizes! Here are the details:

High Five Tunnels
10 kids for each team (Home & Away) for both games. Kids attending are welcome to participate as the teams enter the court.

Half-Court Shot Contest
Shoot a basket for a chance to win free Raising Cane’s for a year during the women’s game, or $1,000 during the men’s game. If you make the shot, you’re a winner! Sign-up for this contest at the Omnitrans table the day of the game. Participants will be randomly selected and contacted via phone when the game kicks off.

VIP Experience – 1/23/19; This drawing has now closed.
Enjoy free food and beverage at your courtside seat! This is limited to 50 guests, so please enter for a chance to be upgraded to the Coyote Club VIP On Court Experience. We will randomly select 10 winners of 5 VIP seats and notify them prior to the game. Click here to enter the drawing! 

See you at the game. GO COYOTES!

Try New sbX Saturday Service Free!

Saturdays are about to get a little more Xceptional this month! Along with scheduled service changes taking effect Monday, January 7, 2019, sbX rapid transit will begin service on Saturdays, every 20 minutes from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Omnitrans is pleased to begin offering Saturday service on the rapid transit line for the first time ever, and we are celebrating by offering you FREE unlimited rides on sbX on the following Saturdays: January 12, 19, and 26! To take advantage of this offer, all you need to do is simply board on any of the three free ride Saturdays.

Connect to San Bernardino and Loma Linda, or beyond. sbX provides seamless connections in Downtown San Bernardino to Metrolink (access into Los Angeles and Orange Counties) and neighboring transit agencies (such as Mountain Transit for access to the mountains, or Riverside Transit Agency, serving Riverside and Anaheim).

sbX Route Map & Saturday Schedule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sbX your quick and convenient weekend solution for school, work, or play!

Because of the increased rapid transit service on sbX on Saturdays, Route 2, which runs parallel to the sbX Green Line, will now run every 55 minutes on Saturdays, and every 30 minutes on Sundays. For free step-by-step directions, use our online Trip Planner.

Omnitrans buses not operating on Christmas Day 2018 or New Year’s Day 2019

The holidays are just around the corner! As you plan your travel this month, keep in mind that Omnitrans buses will not be in service on Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25. Bus service will resume on Wednesday, December 26. Our administrative offices and customer service center will also be closed on Tuesday, December 25 in observance of the holiday.

The following week, buses will not be in service on Tuesday, January 1, 2018, New Year’s Day. Our administrative offices and customer service center will also be closed on this day. Bus service and office hours will resume on Wednesday, January 2.

Thank you for another wonderful ride this year. Omnitrans wishes you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a happy 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 App Storeor Google Play!

Discounted $1 Summer Youth Fare Returns in June and July!

Getting around town will be a little cheaper for San Bernardino Valley youth this summer, thanks to a discounted fare on Omnitrans buses! Riders 18 and under will pay just $1 per trip June 1 through July 31, compared to the regular single-ride cash rate of $1.75.

Riders have a choice of paying cash on board or paying by phone using the Token Transit mobile app. To download the free app, customers can text TOKEN to 41411.

“Using the mobile app eliminates the need to carry cash or have exact change,” said Omnitrans spokesperson Wendy Williams.  “Riders can purchase by phone in advance, then save their passes in the app wallet until they are ready to board.”

The summer discount is good on all Omnitrans bus routes including 26 local routes, three freeway express routes, five OmniGo community shuttle routes and the sbX bus rapid transit line in San Bernardino and Loma Linda.

Students who appear to be close to age 19 should be prepared to show bus drivers proof of age or a high school ID card to prove they are eligible for the discount.

To help make your summer the best one yet, we’ve compiled a list of favorite summertime destinations! Click here to view our Summer Youth Fare guide to summertime fun.

Personalized routing assistance is available by phone at 1-800-9-OMNIBUS (800-966-6428) or online using our Trip Planner. Enjoy!

Employees of the Quarter, Keith Lembach and Dan Olaru

sbX Field Supervisor Keith Lembach believes that safety is not just the Coach Operator’s job – it should be everybody’s priority. It is his commitment to passenger safety that earned him the recognition of the Omnitrans Board of Directors as our Employee of the Quarter, in partnership with Body Shop Technician Dan Olaru.

“I always ask people, ‘How many people do you want to see injured today?’ says Keith. “If the answer is more than zero, you need to go home. It’s all of our jobs to promote safety.”

Employees of the Quarter Keith Lembach (center left) and Dan Nelu (center right) are recognized by (from the left) CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham and Board of Directors Chair Ron Dailey at May’s meeting.

Prior to joining Omnitrans two and a half years ago, Keith had acquired 37 years of valuable transportation experience. This includes years driving private charter buses and trucks. As a trucker, he accumulated two million accident-free miles – a remarkable feat in safe driving.

Just prior to Omnitrans, Keith served as safety manager for a transportation company. Seeking to turn around their dissatisfactory safety record, the company asked him to takeover as director of the program.

A desired change in career led Keith to Omnitrans, where he enjoys being out in our service area and interacting with our drivers and passengers. “I enjoy that every day is different. You can’t script this job. Every driver is different, every passenger is different,” he shares.

While driving sbX one day, Keith heard a loud crash near the back of the bus. Immediately, he paused the bus and noticed that a bike had slid all the way to the front of the bus from the bike holding area.

“I walked back and told the passenger that the bike had to be secured onboard. He said that it had been strapped in properly, but that the Velcro straps weren’t strong enough to hold the bike and that it fell out of the storage area,” he explains.

sbX Field Supervisor Keith Lembach begins his day at 5:30 a.m., helping to start the coaches and monitoring bus pullouts as service begins for the day. He checks for mechanical and farebox issues and helps them get resolved as service on the street is a time-sensitive matter.

Keith methodically assessed the bike straps and noticed that they were worn out and unable to hold the bike in any way. During subsequent ride checks, he noticed bikes tipping, falling, or coming completely unstrapped out of the metal racks. He saw the potential danger to passengers and to their property, and took a proactive approach to mitigating the hazard.

“Keith came into the Maintenance office in the body shop and talked to the supervisors about the trouble that he’d run into on sbX with bike racks,” says Body Shop Technician Dan Olaru.

“They asked him to come see me. From there, we walked the bus and he told me what he wanted to achieve. About a week later, I started work on a prototype, which I finished in the same day. We installed it on a bus, and about a month and a half later we were ready to create bike racks for the entire sbX fleet.”

By trial-and-error, Keith and Dan determined the exact measurements of the new sbX bike storage racks. They readjusted heights several times to ensure bikes of all sizes fit without issue. Once the final prototype was tested, no matter how fast the bus accelerated or stopped, the bikes were not going anywhere.

Dan, a 20-year employee of Omnitrans and now two-time Employee of the Quarter, methodically employed his creativity and self-taught skill to design, build, weld, and install a new solution to better serve our bike-riding passengers. He used existing parts from the old bike racks and implemented them into the design of our new, unique bike racks, minimizing the cost of the project.

Dan works to repair minor damage caused to a panel on the rear side of the bus. After sanding the area, he will fill the dents and scrapes, smooth them, and prime the panel before adding a fresh coat of paint.

“In 1989, I was approved for a visa to move to the United States from Romania which was under communist rule,” reveals Dan. “When I arrived, I worked for an asphalt company and then was hired at Omnitrans in 1997. I knew a little bit about body work from doing that on the side, but this is where my skills got much better.”

Now one of two body shop employees, Dan recalls a time in which there were six workers in the body shop. “Whenever we had a little downtime, I used to practice,” he recalls. “I learned a lot of what I know over the years by observing others and asking the right questions.”

“Dan’s ability to install the new racks with minimal changes to the bus is a work of art,” says Maintenance Supervisor Keith Hunt. “Each time, Dan goes above and beyond what was asked of him. We truly appreciate his work ethic and can-do attitude!”

“It’s a different thing to take on every day – challenging things,” says Dan. “But I like that. The challenges are why I am where I am in my career today. I like to see things that I’ve created with my own hands be implemented and approved of by the people around me and by our passengers.”

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.

Omnitrans Ridership Gains in January Reverse Trend

Omnitrans posted its first system-wide ridership gain in over three years when passenger boardings in January 2018 were 1.7% higher than January 2017. Growth was led by increased use of freeway express routes, up 14.2%, and the sbX bus rapid transit line, up 4.5%.

In all, 22 of Omnitrans’ 35 bus routes carried more passengers than a year ago. Bus routes operating in the western San Bernardino Valley posted gains which averaged 6.2%.

“We are pleased that Omnitrans’ efforts to attract new riders with express service, streamlined routes, improved regional connections, and mobile fares are beginning to pay off,” said Omnitrans Board Chair and Loma Linda Council Member Ron Dailey.  “We hope the trend continues.”

In the past year, Omnitrans has added one new freeway express route, implemented 15-minute service to passenger terminals at Ontario International Airport, expanded operating hours on sbX and implemented a mobile fare payment option.  In December, the Metrolink extension to serve the downtown San Bernardino Transit Center improved regional multi-modal connectivity. The transit hub serves over 5,000 passengers a day making connections on bus routes operated by Omnitrans, Victor Valley Transit Authority, Mountain Transit, Pass Transit, and Riverside Transit Agency.

Omnitrans freeway express routes include Route 215 connecting San Bernardino and Riverside via the 215 and 91 Freeways, Route 290, operating on the 10 Freeway with stops in San Bernardino, Colton, Ontario and Montclair, and Route 208 which connects Yucaipa, Redlands and San Bernardino via the 10 Freeway.  Two additional round trips will be added to Route 208 in May.

The sbX bus rapid transit line now transports over 63,000 riders per month on average compared to under 42,000 monthly in the first year, 2014.  Due to customer demand, Omnitrans expanded sbX service hours last September to operate from 5am to 11pm on weekdays.

Omnitrans total ridership in calendar year 2017 was 11,436,432, a decrease of 5% from 2016.  January 2018 was the first positive month, as compared to the same month in the prior year, since June 2014. “It’s great to start off 2018 with positive numbers, reversing a three year trend experienced by Omnitrans and other transit agencies in our region and the nation,” explained spokesperson Wendy Williams.

Omnitrans route and schedule information is available at 1 (800) 966-6428 or www.omnitrans.org.

Long-time rider benefits from the SBTC’s newly augmented regional connectivity


Cynthia, 62, of San Bernardino is a long-time rider who has dedicated herself to caring for seniors living with disabilities. She relies on Omnitrans to get to her clients every day – a choice that she feels good about each time her bus zooms by cars stalled in traffic on the freeways.

“I have my driver’s license, but I choose not to drive. I ride the Freeway Express and just watching all the people stuck in traffic – that’s enough for me to not want to drive a car! Riding the bus is much more convenient,” she shares with us while waiting for Route 215 to depart at the San Bernardino Transit Center (SBTC).

“I know a lot of drivers from my years of riding Omnitrans, and the majority have been very nice. They treat us, the passengers, with respect. I’ve never been on a bus where a driver was recklessly driving,” she shares of her experience with Omnitrans drivers. “They know what to say, what not to say, and I appreciate that. You have to admire their patience in working with the public.”

Omnitrans’ express routes and the regional connectivity at the SBTC make mobility easy for Cynthia. Commuting to work is a simple ride on her local route to the SBTC, where she connects to Freeway Express (Route 215 for Riverside or Route 290 for Ontario, her two primary work destinations). Cynthia is also benefitting from the recent Metrolink extension to Downtown San Bernardino, now stopping at the transit center.

“I love the [San Bernardino] Transit Center, and to have the Metrolink trains coming here now – I am loving it! I’m feeling so spoiled!” she gushes. “Now I only catch one bus to the transit center and I can go see my mommy in Los Angeles. It was a really good idea to connect the trains to the transit center. It makes it easier, not just for me, but for other bus riders that I used to see down at the 3rd Street depot. They now can connect from the bus to the Metrolink here at the transit center. It has made travel so much easier for us.”

Cynthia is also a student. On Tuesdays, she attends class at a local adult school in San Bernardino. Riding our traditional fixed route system after work would make her late to class, which is why sbX rapid transit is a great solution for her.

“sbX takes me right to class after work. I got to get to work and school on time, so I love all the fast stuff!” she says about Omnitrans’ express services and sbX.

Although Cynthia has been part of the Omnitrans community for the past 10 years, she wants to purchase a car this year. That won’t keep her from riding, though. Cynthia will only drive to our Park and Ride lot at the SBTC and still take advantage of the benefits of riding public transit.

“I will still ride the bus to go shopping, to the grocery store, to the movies. I’ll take Omni everywhere I need to go.” The Route 215 driver approaches the bus, ready to depart, and an energetic Cynthia takes out her bus pass. “Oh, we got to go now!”