Tag Archives: omnitrans

Leadership program encourages employee innovation

Six of our employees graduated from the Omnitrans Leadership Action Program (LAP) this month. During the 6-month program, each participant worked on a project of their choosing with the potential to improve a process or generate significant savings for Omnitrans. The participants thoroughly research their projects and present their findings to the executive leadership team for possible implementation. This year, the combined projects have the potential to save the agency more than $2 million per year!

Ross Hrinko: Benefits of Preventative Health & Wellness Programs
Encouraging participation in the agency’s Wellness Program, soliciting employee feedback and enhancing communication on preventative health are a few areas Ross targets as potential areas of refinement.  The introduction of “Company Nurse” services could assist employees with health issues, by making referrals or suggesting alternative treatment. This would cut back on costly and unnecessary doctor visits, while still providing valuable information and support to the patient.

Louise Acosta – Liquid Natural Gas Delivery vs. Pipeline Natural Gas
For her project, Louise investigated the pros and cons of switching from liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel delivery to pipeline natural gas. Omnitrans currently pays for the delivery of LNG fuel from a third party vendor. Natural pipeline gas would cost substantially less than LNG, but initially would require new equipment to compress the gas for our buses.

Joseph Tibita – Reorganizing Mobile Offices for Cost Reduction
Joseph’s goal was to redesign the equipment placement and storage  in our 15 Field Supervisor mobile offices for practical use and savings. By improving the positioning and layout of user interfaces and streamlining the wiring of data and power cables with a docking station, his plan eliminates the problem of lost time due to displaced equipment and slow system access, and prevents safety hazards.

Christina Diaz – Coach Simulator Acquisition & Training
Christina’s proposal to acquire a coach simulator for operator training was recently actualized. By partnering with Cal State San Bernardino in exchange for data generated by the simulator, Omnitrans was able to obtain the $70,000 simulator for free. Coaches are needed for many types of training, but pulling a coach from revenue service costs the agency approximately $90 per hour. As an added benefit, the simulator can safely mimic challenging and hazardous scenarios not easily duplicated on the road. This allows coach operators to improve their reaction times, behavioral driving, judgmental and perceptual skills. The simulator has also been successfully implemented by the Omnitrans workforce development program to introduce the public to regional coach operator careers.

Caroljo Mitcham –  CNG Conversion & Off-site Fueling of Access Fleet
Caroljo focused on the savings generated by transitioning our current Access paratransit fleet from unleaded gasoline to CNG fuel. By obtaining CNG fuel from an offsite service station, current regulatory compliance fees and tank maintenance would be eliminated and costs would be reduced.

 

Carolann Williams – Rostering Versus Cafeteria Run Bid Process
With the current cafeteria style run  bid, coach operators select and bid on the routes, shifts and days off they want. It is a lengthy process and, depending on how these are combined, can result in split days off for the coach operator. 
With rostering, off days are built into the work assignment, which  reduces the number of days the bid process takes, gives coach operators more varied work assignments to choose from, and minimizes the number of split days off.

Get a $5 food truck coupon from sbX!

Exclusive offer only for sbX riders this Thursday:

Get a $5.00 coupon towards lunch at your favorite food truck during the Third Thursday Food Fest on February 19th!

  • Coupons will be given ONLY to sbX riders disembarking at the sbX Civic Center Station between 11:00- 1:30 on Thursday, February 19th.
  • One coupon allowed per person. A limited quantity of coupons is available.
  • The coupon is redeemable only for that day during the Third Thursdays Food Fest.

Enjoy food truck deliciousness from vendors like:

  • MochaLotive Express – coffee, sandwiches, nachos and more
  • Street Foods Co. – tacos, burritos, salads and more
  • Crepes Bonaparte – gourmet crepes
  • Bacon Mania – all things bacon
  • The Grilled Cheese Truck – sandwiches, mac & cheese
  • Piaggio on Wheels – Argentine cuisine
  • The Greasy Weiner – dogs & brats
  • My Delight Truck – cupcakes

Third Thursdays Food Fest
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.   San Bernardino City Hall
Court Street Square (next to the sbX Civic Center Station)
Check out the SB third Thursdays Food Fest on Facebook!

Thanks for riding sbX. We’ll see you Thursday!

Funny Valentines: Deb & Terry Molloy

Debbie and Terry Molloy first met 19 years ago when they were both working for Omnitrans as coach operators. You might say it was love at first sight.

“I was driving the route 14 my first day when Terry relieved me in front of the yard,” Debbie recalls. “Because I was brand new, I was all nervous and didn’t pay any attention to him. I just wanted off that bus! The second day when he climbed aboard, he asked ‘Are you doing this every day at this time?’ I remember thinking oh my goodness what a voice! Then I looked up and saw his face and that was it. He was so nice and very good-looking. The following week, we kept running into each other at lunch time. There were about five of us that used to meet for lunch every day. Then, before we knew it, it dwindled down to just the two of us.”

Terry nods. “We just clicked, you know?”

Debbie smiles. “Anyway, we went out to lunch together for about a year, and we found out we had a lot of things in common. We got to know each other pretty well. He was just a very gentle, soft-spoken person. I saw that he was kind-hearted and very giving. I liked that.”

“It started off as a good friendship for us,” agreed Terry. “As I got to know her, I could see she was real—there was nothing fake about her. And I noticed that she was a very good parent to her kids. That sort of clued me in as to who she was.”  He shrugs. “She also laughed at my jokes.”

“Some of them I laughed at because I thought I’d BETTER laugh.” points out Debbie.

“Uh huh. She chased me for months,” Terry teases. “Finally I just said okay. I’m yours.”

“I did pursue him,” Debbie confesses. “It took him a long time to ask me out on a date, so I finally invited him to come over to my place for dinner.”

Terry laughs. “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach right?” He leans back in his chair and adds more seriously. “Nah. She was fun. She enjoyed the same things that I did. We were best friends, got to know each other, and it just blossomed from there.

Debbie arches a brow at her husband. “But I didn’t know quite everything. I didn’t realize that he had had a fiance until I was moving in with him and cleaning out the cupboards.”

Terry knows what’s coming. He looks sheepishly at his wife, who has a mischievous sparkle in her eye. They both start to laugh.

“Terry kept the old engagement ring in his sock drawer, and I found it when I was putting laundry away. Anyway, about a week later he says ‘So what are you doing for lunch tomorrow?’”

“I just looked at him and pointed out that we usually go out for lunch together. He said ‘No, I think we’ll go look for a ring for you.’ And I said oh really? The next thing I know, he’s bringing me over the ex’s ring to try on and asking if I like it.”

Terry groans, “I had no idea she knew about it.”

Deb continues gleefully. “I put on the ring, looked and it on my hand and told him no, actually I don’t like it. We ended up taking that ring back to Zales, and I got to pick out a ring that I wanted. But he never asked me to marry him. He just said ‘What are you doing for lunch tomorrow?’”

“And you never said yes,” Terry grins.

“So here we are,” says Debbie. “We were so close and so connected. And all three of my kids love him. They just adore him.

“It was the same with my two kids,” adds Terry. “They just blended and are all close. It worked out well. But it was tough sometimes when they were younger because we wanted to be fair and treat them all the same.”

Debbie nods. “Like on Saturdays I would say okay before you watch cartoons go in the bedroom and make your beds. They’d all look at me like really? You’re not my mom. Stuff like that. And Terry would say don’t worry, Deb, they’ll all be grown up before you know it. And it happened just like that.” She snaps her fingers.

Her husband leans back in his chair. “It was like overnight they were all gone. Now with the new grandbaby, we can do it all over again.

Debbie’s face lights up at the thought of the new addition to their family. “Madison is beautiful. I really like that we get to help raise her together as grandparents. Did you know we’ll be married 18 years in October? And we’re comfortable together. We love to travel now that the kids are gone. A lot of nights we just stay in, snuggle and watch TV.”

“ Communication is really the key. And we never take work home,” says Terry seriously. “If we have anything to say about work, we talk about it here or in the car before we get home. We keep it separate.”

Today, Debbie is an sbX coach operator, and Terry is a Fleet Safety and Training Instructor.

“We like working at Omnitrans,” Deb says frankly. “I don’t think I would want to be in an office with him. But because he’s here and I’m on the road, we do fine. When we do our ATCR classes I look forward to having him as an instructor. I get to see the way everyone reacts to him. People really like him as a trainer. He keeps it fun. It makes me proud to be in there when he’s doing his job.”

“You have to be that way,” Terry explains. “Some people go in there, and they’re straight by the book. That’s just not who I am. You have to bring a little bit of something in with it. You get to know each other better that way.”

I ask what their plans are for Valentine’s Day.

“We’re going to San Diego to get our taxes done,” Terry says promptly

The two look at each other and burst out laughing.

“Our tax man called us and said he had one open appointment but that we wouldn’t want it because it was on Valentine’s Day,” Debbie explains. “Terry said no we want it.”

“We’ll get there early and spend the day and maybe go out for dinner or something afterwards,” he adds.

Debbie smiles. “We’re looking forward to it.”

 - Juno Kughler Carlson
   juno.carlson@omnitrans.org 

Employee of the Year: Don Frazier

On February 4th, Fleet Safety and Training Supervisor Don Frazier was named Omnitrans Employee of the Year for his dedication and invaluable contributions to success of the agency.

Don was critical to the successful launch of our sbX rapid transit service. 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. Thanks to his excellent program and the hard work of his training team, our coach operators were well prepared for the April launch.

The latest Omnitrans training tool: the virtual coach simulator

His commitment to innovation has led our training program to new heights, most recently with the introduction of a virtual coach simulator. It is used as a defensive driving tool to give coach operators the opportunity to face challenging crisis scenarios not easily duplicated in their actual road training. Don constantly looks for new tools and training programs that he can implement with little cost to the agency.

However, to see where Don truly shines, you simply need to talk to the members of his team who nominated him for the Employee of the Year Award.

Don Frazier with trainers Charles Molloy, Stephen McClure, and Christina Diaz

“He is very fair and he watches out for his crew,” says Instructor Charles Molloy frankly. “He takes care of us and wants the best of everything for us. As far as tools or training materials—anything we need—he goes to bat for us.  And it’s because he’s come up through the ranks and knows what we’re facing. I’ve been here going on 21 years and have seen a lot of people in that position, and he’s the best by far. He’s worked hard to bring in innovative training tools like the new coach simulator. Since he became supervisor, this department has risen to a whole new level.”

Don on a test drive in one of the sbX articulated buses

“In my opinion, Don is very deserving of this award,” adds Instructor Christina Diaz. “He is a cool, calm, collected, flexible supervisor. He always has an open door policy. He is always open to suggestions and ideas. For me personally, I feel fortunate and grateful to work for someone like him. He’s been a great mentor to me and has taken me pretty much under his wing.  Even though he’s a supervisor, he’s had no reservations about taking time out of his busy schedule to work with me and show me Omni way. And I’m very appreciative of that.”

Omnitrans trainer Kimberly Perkins

Omnitrans trainer Kimberly Perkins

“Wow. What can I say?” says Instuctor Kimberly Perkins. “I just feel he’s taken us to a whole new level with new equipment and programs we never had before. He’s very good about listening to our suggestions and going to bat for us. I feel like I can go to him for anything. You know how sometimes you can feel so stressed by your boss that you don’t even want to come to work? Don’s the opposite. He makes you want to be here. He supports you and encourages you to give it your best. He always fair and treats all of us the same.”

Stephen McClure agrees. “Don is fair and follows the rules. He’s extremely nice to work for. Whenever I’ve talked with my wife about some of the things he’s done, she says ‘Wow, you really have a good boss.’  And she’s right. I have worked in my lifetime for many people—including myself—and he’s the best.” He grins, “And when you get to be as old as I am, you’ve worked for a lot of people.”

Omnitrans CEO P. Scott Graham, Operations Director Diane Caldera, Employee of the Year Don Frazier, and Board Chair Alan Wapner

Don seems a little overwhelmed by their comments.

“That means a lot to me, and it really hits me emotionally,” he confesses. “Last year was so tough on all of us. We had several large coach operator student classes, a coach operator instructor recruitment class, several return to work and accident prevention workshops and new DMV certifications to meet. We also had to train ourselves on the new sbX articulated buses  and learn to operate the corridor so that we could in turn train the coach operators. “

Don shakes his head, thinking back. “We were literally going non-stop all the time, pulling long hours and making personal sacrifices in order to do what needed to be done. They are an awesome team, and I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished together.”

Director of Operations, Diane Caldera is not surprised. “When you lead by example and really care about and support your staff the way Don does, they will move the earth for you. We have one of the finest training teams in the industry and there is no end to what they can achieve.”

- Juno Kughler Carlson
  Juno.Carlson@omnitrans.org 

Don’s daughter Sandi Coria, his wife Audrey and son-in-law Phil Coria attended the award presentation to show their support and celebrate his achievement

Omnitrans is now on Instagram!

We love taking photos, and Instagram is the perfect place to show them off! Follow @Omnitrans to see everything from vintage throwbacks from our archives to great candid and behind-the-scenes shots. Below are some of the photos we’ve shared recently. Click on each picture to go to the actual post.

Have you taken any great Omnitrans shots?  Share them with us using hashtag #omnitrans!

sbX bus rapid transit launch day – photo by Juno Kughler Carlson

Mmmmm Omni donuts! – photo by Janice Kuhn

1980s Omni Flex Service – from the Omnitrans photo archives

Twilight at Omnitrans bus yard – photo by Juno Kughler Carlson

Elvis impersonator on an Omnitrans bus – Omnitrans photo archives

Stuffing buses at the Spark of Love Toy Drive – photo by Janice Kuhn

Omnitrans at the end of the rainbow – photo by Caroljo Mitchem

Bus cleaning on a rainy night – photo by Juno Kughler Carlson

 

Omnitrans Vet Fare Kickoff A Success

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In appreciation for the contributions of the men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces, Omnitrans introduced a discount fare for US military veterans on January 5, 2015.

“It’s our way of saying thanks to those who have 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.

P. Scott Graham, Omnitrans CEO

A kickoff event was held at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center in Loma Linda, California. Representatives of Omnitrans, its Board of Directors, the VA Healthcare system, 211-Vetlink, and San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs all hailed the new discount fare as a well-deserved benefit for those who served in the armed forces.

Osvaldo Maysonet, Veterans Specialist at 211-Vetlink and former Marine sergeant who served in the Iraq war, is credited with leading the charge to get Omnitrans and several neighboring transit agencies to implement a veteran discount. “This will have a big impact on affordability for our veterans,” Maysonet said. “We have many vets in San Bernardino County who are dealing with low income or no income. Access to affordable transportation will connect them with education, healthcare and employment opportunities and possibly help them to become taxpayers again.”

Osvaldo Maysonet, Veterans Specialist at 211-Vetlink

At the kickoff event, Omnitrans donated 500 veterans 1-day bus passes to VA Healthcare system programs. Veteran resources were on site to offer assistance and information. San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs issued nearly 100 free photo ID cards for veterans. The IDs verify eligibility for the new bus fares and can be used to earn discounts at other “veteran-friendly” businesses in the county.

The veteran fare provides a 50% discount on fixed route bus fares and passes to US retired military personnel with ID. This includes those who served in the US Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. Additionally, Omnitrans introduced free rides for uniformed active duty military members, police and firefighters.

Preparing for a coach operator career

Whenever a coach operator job position opens at Omnitrans, our HR Department receives hundreds of applications. How will you stand out?

Each time an Omnitrans  coach operator position is advertised, our HR Department receives hundreds of applications.  Yet only about 8% make it through the hiring process.

Surprisingly, most are immediately eliminated for one simple reason. They failed to fully complete the application. Others are weeded out during personal interviews for lack of professionalism. 

“Personal appearance, business etiquette and strong interview skills are absolutely critical for success in today’s competitive job market,” points out author and career coach Patricia Dorch.

Bridge Program instructors Patricia Dorch and Henry Shields

That’s where the Bridge Program comes in. The free 5-day workforce development program is facilitated by Dorch and co-instructor Henry Shields, a former Omnitrans Fleet Safety & Training Supervisor.  Together, they introduce job seekers to potential new careers as public transit coach operators. They also prepare participants for the application and interview process, teaching them how to make a great first impression and brand themselves for success.

“Every single day we were challenged,”says Bridge Program graduate Karena Rojas. ” We created portfolios,  covered everything you can think of in the interview process, and learned skills specific to the job of a coach operator. Everyone who graduated the program with me was happy to be a part of it. It boosted everyone’s confidence, so much so that we are all looking harder for jobs and feel surer of ourselves in obtaining one.”

Are you ready for a new career this year? Bridge Program classes are continuing at the Omnitrans San Bernardino office through January. Space is limited. Click here to sign up today.

E St. voted Best Urban Street Transformation

This month, San Bernardino’s E Street was voted “Best Urban Street Transformation of 2014″ on StreestsBlog USA. It was one of five streets nominated in the national Streetsie award competition and garnered an overwhelming 48% of the vote.

There is a lot to be proud of: dedicated bus lanes, beautiful landscaping, and sbX BRT stations with original art whose themes share the rich histories of our local communities. Ongoing events like the weekly Downtown San Bernardino Farmshare and Market and the monthly Third Thursday Food Fest (located by the E Street Civic Center Station) feature local farmers, vendors and food trucks to attract the city’s lunch crowd.

E Street has not simply molded the landscape of our city. It has created a renewed sense of civic pride as evidenced by the grass roots efforts of residents who rallied the community to vote in a show of support.

This New Year’s Eve, we are proud to celebrate the transformation of E Street and look forward to continued positive changes in 2015.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVPPEo2DFu8]

 

VA Medical Center Hosts Omnitrans Veterans Fare Kickoff

A new Omnitrans bus wrap will be on display at the event. It honors those who have served and introduces the launch of the agency’s discounted fare for veterans.

The VA Loma Linda Healthcare System will host an event designed to introduce Omnitran’s new discounted fare for Veterans on Monday, January 5 2015. A ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. followed by an information fair from 2 p.m to 4 pm.

The “Omnitrans Veterans Fare Kickoff” will be held at the main entrance of the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center.

Representatives of Omnitrans Board of Directors, a co-organizer of the event will be on hand. The County will be providing free ID Cards for Veterans during the event.

For more information, contact Wendy Williams of Omnitrans at 909-379-7151, Jim Rich of VA Loma Linda Medical Center at (909) 583-6193 or visit www.omnitrans.org.

Omnitrans Marketing Manager Nicole Ramos & Buster the Bus with display art featuring the new Veterans fare which takes effect January 5th.

The Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center is the centerpiece of the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System.  Opened in 1977, it is located ½ mile from its major affiliate, Loma Linda University.  VA also provides primary care and mental health at outpatient clinics located in Blythe, Corona, Palm Desert, Murrieta, Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville.

Founded in 1976, Omnitrans is the public transit agency providing 50,000 passenger trips each weekday in the San Bernardino Valley of Southern California.

 

Cast your vote for E Street!

E Street, San Bernardino – after

Our own sbX E Street Corridor is one of five nominated  for a national “Streetsie Award” for Best Urban Street Transformation of 2014.

To cast your vote, head over to Street Blog USA  and check out all the nominees. We think you’ll agree E Street, San Bernardino has undergone a huge transformation!

Voting ends on December 28th. Be sure to check out the San Bernardino Sun newspaper Wednesday, December 24th for an E Street article by reporter Ryan Hagen.

E Street, San Bernardino – before