Tag Archives: omnitrans

Prepare for the new fares. Buy now, save later!

Buy Omnitrans bus passes before fare changeOn September 2nd, Omnitrans fares will increase for the first time in five years. But you can save money now by purchasing extra passes in advance!

Because there will be no change to the actual look of our bus passes, any passes you currently hold will continue to be honored after September 2nd.  It’s a great opportunity to stock up at the lower price!

Once the fare change goes into effect, the price of a one-way bus trip will increase from $1.50 to $1.75 while the 1-day pass rate will rise from $4 to $5.  A 31-day pass will go from $47 to $55.  See the fare table for full rates and details. 

 omnitrans new fares

sbX Coach Operator Steven Newton

Omnitrans sbX coach operator Steven Newton

For coach operator Steven Newton, 2014 has been an eventful year: a Valentine’s Day wedding, a new baby—and a new job as an sbX coach operator!

“I’d always wanted to drive the Artic [articulated coach], but I didn’t want to make the 30 mile commute to San Bernardino,” Steven confessed.  “It was my wife who finally made me decide to apply to be an sbX driver.  With our new baby, she needed me home on the weekends.”

omnitrans sbx coach operator steven newtonSo Steven put in for the position. He had been with Omnitrans for 7 years, and for the last two had been working relief shifts 7 days week on the west side. He felt he had a pretty good record but knew there was also a lot of strong competition for those jobs.  When he found out he made the cut, he was excited.

“I like these vehicles a lot better. The turning point radius is really no different from a 40-footer.  They run smooth and command a different respect on the road.  Passengers are pleasant, although with sbX  I don’t have as much interaction with them since they enter from the rear doors.  I just really need to focus on driving. The hardest part of the job is watching for motorists. It’s a very different experience.”

Because all the sbX drivers came in at the ground floor at the same time and shared the same training and experiences, Steven says they’ve become like family. They understand the challenges of the job and support each other and help out wherever they can.

Omnitrans sbX Coach Operator Steven Newton“Most of us see this as the stepping stone to the revitalization of San Bernardino County,” said Steven. “It starts with the City of San Bernardino and will grow as sbX spreads to more areas. I like the long term plan. They want to bridge the Inland Empire to Los Angeles.  To me, that’s the best move you could make because so many people commute from here to LA and vice versa. The train can only do so much. We’ve got the buses that bridge, but that’s a 3-4 hour bus ride as opposed to an express service that could take you right to downtown LA. There could even be something on the 210 that could get you to Pasadena. These are the ideas the company is trying to bring forth. It’s creating more jobs, more opportunity, and more room for promotion.”

Steven says overall passenger reaction to sbX has been positive.

Omnitrans sbX coach operator Steven Newton

“People respect us. A lot feel we are trying to make things better, especially up at the college.  I had some kids get on the bus recently who asked if I could hold off for a moment because they were doing a school project about the sbX and wanted some pictures. I was like, wow. Go ahead. It made me feel good to know that I was a part of their education. We are helping the community. It’s not just about making money. We’re making a difference. That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re public servants. We’re supposed to help people who might be less fortunate than others who do have the means, you know. That’s what it’s all about. It may not be perfect. It may not put you in the parking lot, but we’re going to get you where you need to go.”

Steven’s baby boy Ian is now 5-months-old, and he loves being able to devote his weekends to his family.

“It’s a long commute during the week,” he admits. “But I’m so used to it now it just comes and goes. It doesn’t really bother me anymore. Life is blessing me right now and I have a lot to be grateful for.”

- Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans sbX coach operator graduates

Omnitrans sbX coach operator graduates

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sbX BRT stations before and after

Here’s a quick look at the development of our sbX stations using before and after photos and artist renderings. We’ve definitely come a long way!

 

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Special needs class learns about sbX BRT

The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS) class at Colton High School recently chose the sbX Green Line as their field trip destination. The class, which concentrates on teaching life skills to special needs students, is made up of nine boys ranging in age from 14 to 22-years-old.

Omnitrans bus stop - autistic class from Colton High

Teacher Kim Snyder has been working with special needs kids for more than 30 years. The boys thrive under her care, reassured by her calmness, firmness and sense of humor. She loves spending time with them and is fascinated by how their minds work. Her goal is to teach them the social and practical skills needed to help prepare them for life as young adults.

Omnitrans bus stop - autistic class from Colton High

“Because they can’t theorize well, they can’t always apply what they are taught in a classroom to real life situations beyond the classroom,” says Ms. Kim. “We have to actually teach these students in the community. If they have the opportunity to learn through actual hands-on experience, it is easier for them to understand and retain that information. Riding sbX was a great opportunity to them to see firsthand how that transit system works and what destinations are along the route.”

sbX VA Hospital Station

The boys were very excited by their first ride on the rapid transit system. The level boarding was both a surprise and immense relief.

“Steps make them a little nervous,” explains Ms. Kim. “Some of them are a little unsteady on their feet and one of them only walks on tiptoes. It can be difficult to deal with the steepness of a step, and they naturally worry about their balance. Having no steps to deal with was a huge bonus for us!”

autistic class from Colton High aboard sbX BRT

The little group sat together at the back of the bus in a semi-circle, which allowed them to see each other’s smiling faces. When they learned about the on-board power outlets and free Wi-Fi, the boys broke into cheers and clapping. They were also amazed to see that people could bring their bikes on board and secure them in the interior bike racks.

sbX center seats

As they rode along, they had a chance to see some of the sbx station platforms, and Ms. Kim pointed out familiar destinations.

“This is totally awesome!” one of them exclaimed.  “It feels like a roller coaster.”

sbX BRT

“The seats are really comfortable, and I like the driver,” said another.

The students had fun trying out the seats in the articulated middle section of the bus which spun whenever the vehicle made a turn. Big grins lit up their faces as they hung onto the armrests.

sbX BRT VA Hospital Station - Colton High Autistic Class

Along the way, they stopped at the VA Hospital station in Loma Linda, where they learned about features like the blue emergency call box, the live customer service help button at the side of each map case and the ticket vending machine where they could buy passes. They even had a visit from Field Supervisor Rick Alverez who took the time to answer a few questions. The class was impressed to discover that Rick had won several awards for driving buses in roadeo competitions and wanted their photo taken with him.

sbX VA Hospital station

The field trip was a huge success, and the boys can’t wait to ride again. Because sbX is so fast, the class can now plan field trips to destinations like Cal State San Bernardino. That was not an option for them before, because the travel time by regular bus was much longer.

But, as Ms. Kim points out, sbX has an even greater impact on her students. It is a valuable resource for them as they enter the job market.

riding on sbx BRT

Many of her students work well in fast food cleanup, doing tasks like wiping down tables and cleaning windows. These fast food restaurants spend a lot of money training high school kids to do these jobs, but they tend to leave after only a short time. Students like those in Ms. Kim’s class, however, will go through the training, be excited and proud to earn their official badge or uniform and go on to work for that company for 50 years. But one of the first things the employer asks about is their transportation needs and whether they can travel independently. The ability to use public transit like Omnitrans and sbX opens up many more opportunities for them.

riding sbX BRT

“Many of our students have employable skills,” says Ms. Kim. “They desire employment but are hampered by their lack of transportation.  Public transportation makes it possible for our students to continue into adulthood with a sense of independence and, as a result, live a higher quality of life.”

See more photos from the class field trip on Flickr!

- Juno Kughler Carlson
 juno.carlson@omnitrans.org 

sbX

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Omnitrans customer survey and prize drawing

Omnitrans Customer Survey and Prize Drawing

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

Take the survey in English

Tome el questionario en espanol

Omnitrans, along with several other transit agencies, is participating in a customer survey run by the American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG).

ABBG is a consortium of mid-sized bus agencies in North America that was established in 2011 to benchmark performance and share experiences and best practices. The information collected in the survey will help provide a comparative analysis of the bus rider experience nationwide.

We encourage all our riders to take the Omnitrans customer survey between Monday, April 28th and Sunday, May 25th.  Survey participants will be entered into a drawing for 5  gift packs which include a $25 Target gift card and a free 7-Day bus pass.

 

A Travel Training Story: Glory & Richard

Siblings Glory and Richard had recently moved from Ontario to Highland when they began VTrans’ travel training program. Richard is a veteran who has several medical needs and his sister Glory is his caretaker and advocate. She accompanies him wherever he needs to go, helps him stay on top of all his medications and makes sure he eats a healthy diet.

Glory learned about our program after calling her local community center and asking for assistance with transportation to go to doctor appointments and grocery shopping. Though they had experience in Ontario with public transportation, they did not yet know their way around the city of Highland. Their extremely limited finances also did not allow them to afford more expensive services such as Access. Though Richard can only walk short distances due to his age and disabilities, they live near an Omnitrans bus route and do not need to walk long distances to run their errands.

During their travel training, they learned how to navigate the  bus route near their home, stopping at Wal-Mart, the local church, the senior center, and the library. They were excited that all these places were only one short bus ride away. They wanted to start attending church again and visit the Highland Senior Center for socialization, to play pool, have lunch, and exercise. Glory liked that she could visit the library to use the computers and find other important resources for Richard, such as food pantries, In Home Support Services, and other income earning opportunities. With the help of their travel trainer they were able to take longer trips to the local YMCA, Social Security office, and the local hospital.

Glory and Richard were extremely pleasant riders and are greatly appreciative of the work their trainer did to help them become increasingly independent and social in their new community.

- Jessica Jacquez
jjacquez@vtrans.us.com

To learn more about VTrans one-on-one travel training, visit their website or chat with them on Twitter or Facebook!

For Omnitrans group travel training (10 or more people) contact Nicole Ramos at nicole.ramos@omnitrans.org.

 

E Street Paving Begins; Station Work Resumes

Concrete planters line pedestrian ramp leading to sbX station platform at E Street and Court Street in Downtown San Bernardino.

Major changes are on the way for E Street. To start, the final two station locations at Court Street and at Baseline Street will really start to come together in November. With the station platforms now complete and structure steel erected, crews can focus on installing ticket-vending machines, security cameras and paver tiles on the station platforms.

In addition, the placement of the final layer of asphalt along E Street and Hospitality Lane marks another major sbX milestone. Following completion of paving along Hospitality Lane in early November, crews will move operations to E Street. Crews will work south from the north end of the project. This roadway work will provide a smooth, even ride for motorists.

In order to minimize impacts to residents and businesses along the corridor, paving and restriping activities will take place at night. Intermittent street closures may occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Thank you for your patience during this phase of the project.

-  Kelly Koehler
(kkoehler@westboundcommunications.com)

Paving and landscape-irrigation work has begun on Hospitality Lane between Tippecanoe Avenue and Waterman Avenue. Paving will continue on E Street through mid-November