Tag Archives: omnitrans veterans

Omnitrans Offers Free Rides for Vets on Veterans Day

To honor our veterans on Veterans Day, Omnitrans is offering free rides to the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces on Friday, November 11, 2016. It is our way of saluting those individuals who have contributed to protecting our nation’s freedom.

To ride, veterans simply present an ID card indicating their retired military status upon boarding any of Omnitrans’ vehicles including sbX, Freeway Express, OmniGo community shuttles, and our local fixed-route buses. Accepted forms of ID include those issued by US Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs, San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Since January 2015, Omnitrans has offered rides at a reduced fare for the approximate 79,000 veterans living in the San Bernardino Valley. Required methods of proof of eligibility for such fare discount include:

  • County of San Bernardino Military Veterans ID card
  • US Department of Veteran Affairs ID card
  • Department of Defense retired ID card, or
  • A transit agency Veterans ID card

If you are a veteran and would like to apply for the San Bernardino County Military Veterans ID card, please click here to apply online.

Buses running, offices closed Veterans Day

Depositphotos_88657754_originalOn Veterans Day, our country pays tribute to the millions of brave Americans who have served in our armed forces. We owe the many freedoms we often take for granted to their collective sacrifice and dedication. Without them, our nation and world would be an entirely different place. To those who served, we say thank you.

FREE RIDES FOR VETERANS
To honor our local veterans, Omnitrans is offering free bus rides to US military vets on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11.

Veterans may simply show retired military ID when boarding any Omnitrans bus including the sbX rapid line, freeway express and local bus routes, or OmniGo community shuttles. Accepted IDs include those issued by US Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs, and San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs.

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES CLOSED
In observance of  Veterans Day, Omnitrans offices will be closed on Wednesday, November 11th, but buses will continue to operate as normally scheduled. The Customer Service window at the San Bernardino Transit Center will be open regular hours from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

VETERANS DAY EVENTS
Are you looking for a special way to commemorate the holiday? The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin has published a list of Veterans Day events taking place throughout the Inland Empire. Click here to view.

OmniTrans Vet Fare Bus Wrap - Lamar

Vets Ride Omnitrans Free on Veterans Day

Transit agency partners with VetLink on Trip Planner Launch 

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In appreciation for the contributions of the men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces, Omnitrans is offering free bus rides to US military veterans on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11.

Veterans may simply show retired military ID when boarding any Omnitrans bus including the sbX rapid line, freeway express and local bus routes, or OmniGo community shuttles. Accepted IDs include those issued by US Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs, and San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs.

“It’s our way of saluting those who served to protect our freedom,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham, himself a veteran of the US Marine Corps.  Approximately 79,000 veterans reside in the Omnitrans service area of the San Bernardino Valley, stretching from Yucaipa in the east to the Los Angeles County line in the west.

omnitrans veterans fare

In January 2015, Omnitrans introduced a reduced fare category for veterans.  “Since then, we have tallied over 100,000 rides taken by local veterans,” said Omnitrans spokesperson Wendy Williams.  Osvaldo Maysonet, 211 Access & Mobility Coordinator for VetLink was instrumental in advocating for the discounted veteran fare.

“The introduction of a veterans fare by Omnitrans has meant the world to our veteran population of the San Bernardino Valley,” said Maysonet. “The thing I like the most is that Omnitrans sees this veteran fare not as a financial burden, but as just a small token of appreciation for their service to our country.”

Osvaldo Maysonet flag

VetLink’s Osvaldo Maysonet, above, was instrumental in advocating for Omnitrans’ discounted fare for Veterans. VetLink will introduce its 211 Trip Planner Tool at the San Bernardino Transit Center on November 10.

211 VetLink Trip Planner

VetLink will launch its new trip planner tool at a ceremony at Omnitrans’ new San Bernardino Transit Center on Tuesday, November 10 at 10:30 am. The trip planner is a web-based tool that conveniently assists veterans, service members, and their families in finding and learning about available transportation services and programs within San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. This tool can be accessed through a personal computer, tablet or mobile device. More event information here.

All Omnitrans bus routes will be running regular schedules on November 11. The Veterans Day free ride offer is not applicable to Access service for persons with disabilities.

Personalized trip planning assistance is available through the Omnitrans information center, at 800-9-OMNIBUS (800-966-6428), or online at www.omnitrans.org.

Trip planning tool offers travel assistance to vets

vetlinkThere are about a quarter of a million veterans in the Inland Empire, many in need of transportation services to acquire the resources they need to live their lives to the fullest. The 211 Vetlink Trip Planner is a web-based tool that conveniently assists veterans, service members and their families in finding and learning about available transportation services and programs within San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. This tool can be accessed through personal computer, tablet or mobile device, making it easy to make trip plans.

On Tuesday, November 10, 2015, the Inland Empire United Way and San Bernardino County 211 will host a launch ceremony for the 211 VetLink Trip Planner. The event will be held from 10:30-11:30 at the San Bernardino Transit Center at 599 West Rialto Avenue in San Bernardino. The transit center is served by Omnitrans Routes 8, 15, the sbX Green Line, and Route 290 Freeway Express. Enjoy a brief ceremony, a tour of the new transit center, refreshments, and vendors.

Osvaldo Maysonet flag

Osvaldo Maysonet, Access & Mobility Coordinator at Inland Empire United Way

Parking is available at the northeast corner of Rialto Avenue and F Street and at Carousel Mall. Attendees are encouraged to take public transit to the event. The location is served by Omnitrans Routes 2, 15, and the sbX Green Line. Routing information can be found at www.211vetlink.org or by calling toll-free
1-800-0-OMNIBUS.

Event questions? Please contact:
Osvaldo Maysonet, Access & Mobility Coordinator at Inland Empire United Way,
at omaysonet@ieuw.org.

Thanking veterans with a free ride

U.S military veterans will receive free bus rides on Veterans Day. It’s our way of saying thank you to those who have served this country to protect our freedom.

Veterans simply need to show retired military ID when boarding any Omnitrans route including the sbX rapid line, 215 freeway express, 25 local bus routes, or 5 OmniGo community shuttle routes. Acceptable veteran IDs include those issued by the US Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs and  San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs. For more information on veteran IDs, click here.

All of us at Omnitrans are proud to support our veteran community. sbX coach operator Rachel Tripp expresses it best.

sbX coach operator Rachel Tripp picking up veterans at the VA hospital station

“It feels good to pull in to the station and see the veterans come on board,” says Rachel. “Many of them have been through so much with everything they’ve seen and experienced. A lot them are still going through rough times, trying to find jobs or struggling with homelessness. They have done so much for all of us. It’s a great honor for me to pick them up and give them good service. It’s a small way I can express my own gratitude and show my respect.”

This Veterans Day we salute all of our veterans, who are such an integral part of our local community,.

Veteran at VA hospital station by photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Big Bear resident and Navy veteran Michael Johnson uses MARTA, Omnitrans and sbX to get to his doctor appointments at the VA hospital in Loma Linda.

Vets and friends Marvin and Ed help teach art skills to other veterans at the VA hospital.

Omnitrans veteran by photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Veteran holds his Omnitrans “Proud Veteran” button at the VA hospital station.

Veteran takes his seat on board the sbX BRT Green Line.

Omnitrans honored by Veterans Employment Committee

Vetlink Veterans Specialist Osvaldo Maysonet presents a certificate of appreciation from the Veterans Employment Committee to Omnitrans Outreach Specialist Nicole Ramos

On May 8th, Omnitrans was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Veterans Employment Committee for the agency’s support of its annual Honor A Hero – Hire a Vet Job & Resource Fair. (HaH-HaV)

“When the organizers of the HaH-HaV  asked me if VetLink could help out with transportation support for unemployed veterans, I knew right away that Omnitrans would step up,” said Veterans Specialist Osvaldo Maysonet. “Omnitrans  Outreach Specialist Nicole Ramos immediately said ‘What do you need?’ That’s the goodwill spirit Omnitrans has towards our veterans.”

“Omnitrans is proud to support veterans and organizations such as the Veterans Employment Committee,” said Ramos. “Their annual job fair provides great opportunities for our former servicemen and women. Our own agency is living proof that hiring vets works –we are privileged to have 82 veterans on staff!”

Military veterans often possess the skills and training that match jobs in public transportation.  Just as they served our country in a variety of ways, veterans are deployed in a variety of roles at Omnitrans, from Coach Operator to Equipment Mechanic, Department Director and more.

Veterans and others interested in a career at Omnitrans can sign up online to receive notifications of future job openings at www.omnitrans.org/about/careers/

Omnitrans rider, veteran & leatherworker Ed Miller

Ed Miller with his prizewinning leather belt and holster

Longtime Omnitrans rider Ed Miller is a Vietnam War veteran, a talented leather craftsman and a recovering addict who is helping other vets in their struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. His story is an inspiration to anyone who thinks it’s too late to change their life.

In some was the deck was stacked against Ed from the beginning. When he was just an infant, his mother used to put alcohol in his bottle to quiet him and get him to sleep. His father was also an alcoholic. But it wasn’t until he received a “Dear John” letter during the Vietnam War that he started drinking heavily and began using opium. By the time he was discharged, he was completely addicted.

“For 43 years, my only focus was on how to get more dope and more alcohol,” admits Ed frankly. “It’s amazing that I still have any mental capacity after that. I drank and smoked my family away.”

Finally in 2006, Ed hit rock bottom. He devised a detailed suicide plan but decided to attend one last therapy session at the Loma Linda Veteran’s Administrantion Hospital. Psychiatrist Richard Newman took one look at him and knew that this was it. He asked Ed just one question. “Do you really want to change your life?” And Ed said yes.

“I quite cold turkey and never went back,” says Ed. “I got into the AA program, and it was like a little light bulb went off in my head. Hmmm . . . I have a choice. Do I want to fall asleep or pass out? Do I want to wake up or come to?”

“My life is very different now. I used to have to lock my stuff into a car to make sure it would still be there. At night I would pass out on my [drug] connection’s couch. Now I get to go home to where I live and enjoy it.”

Two years into his recovery, Ed joined a leatherworking class with Steve Nicholas at the VA hospital and discovered he had a gift for leather tooling and design. His intricate creations have earned him a well-deserved reputation among his peers. He is the current vice president of the Leather Artisans Guild of California.

In February, Ed competed in a veterans’ arts & crafts show and took home three first place awards for tooling, stamping and leather kit. He and the other first place winners now face a second elimination round. The final Gold Winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to Milwaukee where they will go on to compete on the national level against other veterans.

A collection of some of Ed’s leather work

Although he is passionate about his art, it is giving back to other vets that means the most to him. Three mornings a week he volunteers for Project Save at the VA, where he serves as a living example of what’s possible when you decide to turn your life around.

“About 50% of these guys come into the program because they are on parole or probation or have a court date coming up. I tell them they can wait around like me for 43 years, or they can change their lives now and enjoy the time they have ahead of them. If you were a civilian, you would have to pay over $10,000 to be in a 30-day recovery program like this. And it’s not hard to do. You just have to be honest with yourself–no more excuses–and follow along with what the facilitator tells you to do.”

Ed believes that Omnitrans provides a critical service for vets, especially those in the recovery process. “A lot of young vets in the program have had their cars impounded or mom and dad are tired of giving them money for gas and insurance. With the bus, they can’t say their car broke down or that they can’t afford the gas.  There are no excuses. They can attend program and get where they need to go without a big expense. It makes everything possible for them.”

Ed himself has been an Omnitrans rider for 3 ½ years and says it keeps him connected to his community. “Coming home I get to listen to the younger guys complain on the bus,” he chuckles. He sometimes shares his own observations with them that put it all in perspective.

“When you get past the complaining and the excuses, that’s when you have the power to change your life,” he says. “You just have to want it.”

If you are interested in contacting Ed or ordering one of his custom designs, you can reach him at edmill71@yahoo.com.

– Juno Kughler Carlson
Have a great Omnitrans story to share?  Let us know! Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org 

A symbol of pride: Ed’s leather stamp