Tag Archives: omnitrans

New! Omnitrans Security Text-a-Tip

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Beginning Thursday, August 6th, Omnitrans will roll out its new Text-a-Tip security alert system. Passengers who observe suspicious activity at Omnitrans bus stops, stations or transit centers will now be able to text that information directly to the 24-hour Omnitrans security team at 909-368-7711.The system will automatically reply to the sender with a text confirming receipt of the message.

Text-to-Tip is intended solely for reporting non-emergency activities, such as suspicious people, graffiti, vandalism, or unattended packages. In case of an emergency where emergency response personnel are needed, calls should be directed to 9-1-1. When providing a text tip, the user should always include the stop or exact location in their texts, so that the security team knows where to investigate.

“Omnitrans is committed to maintaining a clean, safe environment at all its stops, stations and transit centers,” says Mark Crosby, Omnitrans Security & Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. “Text-a-Tip provides the opportunity for our security team to partner with riders to quickly respond to any unusual activity.”

Photo tour of the new Omnitrans Vehicle Maintenance Facility

Omnitrans vehicle maintenance facility

Omnitrans Fuel Island

The new Omnitrans Vehicle Maintenance Facility was designed to both maximize efficiency and conserve resources. The bus wash and fuel island, which services both the 40-foot coaches and the 60-foot sbX vehicles, has now been in operation for two months. Construction Manager Andres Ramirez recently took us on a tour of the facility so we could learn more about the different components.

omnitrans bus wash water filters

80-90% of water in the bus wash is reclaimed and processed through a filtering system.

Because water is such a precious commodity in California, conservation is essential. Approximately 80-90% of the water used in the bus wash is reclaimed. The water is captured by ground filters and is then machine processed to remove sand and other large particles.

omnitrans bus wash tanks

Large tanks supply water and detergent to the bus wash

Three large tanks supply the water and detergent for the bus wash: the first holds clean, filtered water, the second holds reclaimed water that has been processed, and the third tank holds detergent. A water softener and reverse osmosis system removes hard water minerals.

Omnitrans chassis wash

The chassis wash

In the chassis wash, buses are placed on a lift so the underside of the coach can be sprayed clean of grease and dirt. The main bus wash area operates much like a regular car wash, with brushes and cleaners. Instead of drying the buses by hand as we did previously, an automatic dryer has been installed to increase efficiency.

Bus wash vacuum door

This end of the giant vacuum system forms a seal over the bus door.

Bus interiors are vacuumed using a special system. The end of the vacuum is designed to cover and latch tightly to the bus door. The powerful suction then sucks any trash or loose materials out through the large duct work and into a compactor/dumpster.

Dirst and trash collected by the vacuum are deposited into dumpsters.

Dirt and trash collected by the vacuum are deposited into dumpsters.

Hybrid cars used by field supervisors and trucks used by stop maintenance crews are fueled by an unleaded gas pump on the fuel island. Omnitrans buses and sbX vehicles are fueled by CNG pumps.

Omnitrans employee break rooom

An employee lounge saves workers a long walk to the maintenance shop.

An air-conditioned employee lounge, complete with fridge, microwave, sink and restroom is conveniently located off the fuel island.

Fleetwatch system at Omnitrans

The Fleetwatch system records information on the status of the mechanical equipment and the fluid levels of each bus.

Information on the status of the mechanical equipment and fluid levels of each bus is automatically recorded by the Fleetwatch system. The maintenance department tracks these stats to plan product and equipment orders.

Omnitrans authorize fluid dispense

Andres Ramirez swipes his emplioyee ID badge to access the fluid dipensers.

Dispensers disperse motor oil and other vehicle fluids

Dispensers disperse motor oil and other vehicle fluids

In order to operate the fuel and fluid dispensers, an authorized employee must first scan his badge. Fluids are topped off using dispensers which measure the amount of product used. A machine monitors the fluid levels, and alerts employees when they need to be replenished.

emergency eyewash and shower

Emergency eye wash and shower station

As a safety precaution, emergency eyewash and shower stations are installed throughout the facility.

Lube Cube storage

Lube Cube storage area

Lube Cubes, which store the all fluids used in the dispensers, are kept in secured storage areas which can only be accessed with the swipe of an authorized employee ID badge.

bus fuel island catwalk

View of upper catwalk

A fenced-in catwalk near the fuel island ceiling can acommodate any additional storage needs.

Fare box collection

Fare box vault

Fare boxes are loaded into a secure vault, where they will later be retrieved for processing.

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Temporary bus wash and fuel island

With the new Vehicle Maintenance Facility operational, the old temporary fuel island and bus wash will soon be taken down. The area will be then be turned into additional bus parking spaces.

The mechanics of a bus rider

Mechanic Jeff Bailey at Empire Bowl in Redlands

For more than ten years, Yucaipa resident Jeff Bailey has ridden Omnitrans to Empire Bowl in Redlands where he works as a mechanic.

“The bus stop used to be right in front of the Shakey’s next door, but that changed earlier this year when Omnitrans cut out a small portion of Route 19 that went up Colton Avenue. It’s an inconvenience because I have to walk about a mile from Redlands Mall to get to work. But with the 19 leaving Yucaipa every half hour now instead of every hour, that’s a lot nicer for me. It used to take me an hour and 20 minutes to get to work, and now it only takes 40 minutes.”

Jeff loves working on machines, and he is in his element when surrounded by tools in his workshop.

“I’ve been turning wrenches all my life,” he says with a chuckle. “I was in the Air Force for 10 ½ years active duty and 11 ½ years in the reserves as an aircraft mechanic. So I came to this job fairly well prepared. I just had to learn the machines. I had a good working knowledge of tools and mechanical principle, so that worked out all right. I was hired here as a Class B Brunswick mechanic. I worked with a guy on the bowling machines for about three nights, and then they told me I was good to go. We’ve had people here that we’ve trained for two weeks, and they still didn’t work out. They just don’t have it.”

Empire Bowl mechanic Jeff Bailey

Jeff believes that some people are just born with a natural curiousity about how things work.

“I think you either have mechanical aptitude or you don’t. My dad had it and so did my grandfather. It runs in our family. For years my dad worked the coal mines in Pennsylvania and was later promoted to the preparation plant were they grade and sort the coal. He was the mechanic on all the machinery there.”

As an Air Force veteran, Jeff feels his military experience gave him a strong foundation that he carries over to the workplace.

“You learn discipline, work ethic, and the importance of being on time. In my 15 years of working here at Empire Bowl, I think I’ve only called out for one day. I leave the house early and I get here early—just in case. So if there’s a mechanical breakdown on the bus, the next bus will still get me to work on time. That’s a decision I make. I never want to be late.

“For the most part it works out fine. The schedules are set so you know what they are. I don’t have any trouble with them. It’s hard sometimes because I get out at midnight. For years I was taking a cab home. Now I pay my nephew for about half the price. If I was working day shift I would use the bus both ways”

Because he’s been riding the bus so long and knows the schedules, Jeff says he never really has a need to use NexTrip.

“I did download the Omnitrans app though,” he admits. “And I have the map on my tablet. This way, I can research the routes when I need to go somewhere out of the ordinary.  Besides work, I go to Stater Bros, Walmart and the VA Hospital. I don’t get into San Bernardino too often.”

Omnitrans bus rider and Empire Bowl mechanic Jeff Bailey

An avid golfer, Jeff also enjoys spending time on the golf course.

“I belong to a senior men’s club, and we play golf every Wednesday at Calimesa Country Club. I don’t miss that! Most of the time I catch a ride, but if I need it, OmniGo drops me off about a half mile from the club. I only carry about three clubs with me, so that’s alright. I enjoy the game. My handicap is 19. I started playing almost two years ago with a 29, but I’ve been coming down. I’m about at my limit now. At my age I can’t hit the ball as far as I used to. I’ll be 68 in October.”

A front desk call comes in over the intercom, and Jeff jumps up to address a problem on one of the lanes. After making a quick adjustment to the machine, he returns with a smile.

“The bus service has been pretty good for me overall,” he says, wiping his hand on a towel. “I  know most of the coach operators by face, but not by name. On Sundays, the driver is a young fella who always has something nice to say. In inclement weather, he tells us ‘you don’t have to stand out there. Come on in the bus.’ He’s a nice guy and looks after everyone. People appreciate that.

“You know it’s funny. Sometimes we get new drivers on the route who have never driven it before. They might be covering for someone who got sick that day.  Every so often, they’ll start to make a wrong turn, and we have to say ‘no, no—our turn is down farther.’ And they say okay and apologize. They do their best for us, and we look out for them if we can.

“Riding the bus is very convenient. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it. I’d have to move closer to work, or maybe just retire.”

- Juno Kughler Carlson
  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Therapy dogs climb aboard sbX

Passengers boarding one of our sbX buses last week enjoyed a ride-along with a dozen therapy dogs from Rim of the World Comfort Pets. The dogs were all different breeds, sizes, and personalities but they all had one goal: to bring a smile to people’s faces.

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After their initial surprise, riders had fun interacting with the dogs, talking with handlers and taking selfies to share with their friends. To their delight, they found that each dog had its own business card with its photo and story. When meeting a new person, the dog would touch a paw to the card to “autograph” and share it with them.

Each therapy dog has his own business card with name, bio & handler's name.

Each therapy dog has his own business card with name, bio & handler’s name.

As passengers got off at their stops, we asked them how they had enjoyed their trip.

“Best ride ever,” grinned one young man. “I wish every bus ride was like this!”

Handler Nancy with Biscuit. Bicuit is a Saint Bernard, Siberian Husky mix who thinks she’s a lapdog, She has one blue eye and one brown which gives her a distinctive look.

Comfort Pets CEO Linda Smith told us that they get that reaction a lot. “Even the grumpiest people break into a smile when they see the dogs,” she laughed. “They’re irresistible.”

Bernese Mountain dog Emma loves hiking, swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. She also likes to glam up her look with a pair of sunglasses. Cockapoo Wallie loves frisbee and playing ball. He's also a great cuddler.

Bernese Mountain dog Emma loves hiking, swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. She also likes to glam up her look with a pair of sunglasses. Cockapoo Wallie loves frisbee, going for walks and playing ball. He’s also a great cuddler and kisser.

According to their website at www.comfortpets.org, a therapy dog’s primary job is to make positive physical contact with individuals in need of comfort.

The animals are often hugged, petted, brushed, talked to, or simply sit on a person’s lap. Many dogs perform small tricks for those they visit; or even play carefully structured games. The dogs and their handlers provide comfort and therapeutic kindness in medical, social service, and educational settings.

In addition to being a therapy dog, Savannah is trained to alert handler Bob when his blood sugar spikes.

In addition to being a therapy dog, Savannah is trained to alert handler Bob when his blood sugar spikes. She also adores motorcycle rides!

Some of the therapy dogs perform specific services for their handlers as well. Savannah, a French Brittany, has been trained to alert handler Bob Bernier to changes in his blood sugar levels.

“I’m diabetic,” he explained. “And Savannah has an incredible sense of smell. When she picks up a spike in my blood sugar, she alerts me by running in a circle.”

You can't help but smile when you look at Dobby. This funny little pug loves to eat and enjoys a good game of fetch or tug-of-war.

You can’t help but smile when you look at Dobby. This funny little pug loves to eat and enjoys a good game of fetch or tug-of-war.

Bob chuckled. “As part of her training, I always reward her with a treat. One day she began running in circles, but when I checked my blood sugar it was normal. I thought she was just trying to get a treat. But 30 minutes later, my blood sugar spiked. She picked up on the change before the machine did!”

He leaned down to scratch her ears, “Savannah’s pretty amazing. She also loves riding on the back of my motorcycle every chance she gets. I’ve rigged a special harness for her. She definitely turns a lot of heads!”

Adorable Annie loves people of all ages. Whenever handler Kurt goes out, she likes to hitch a ride on his scooter.

Adorable Annie lloves people of all ages. Whenever handler Kurt goes out, she likes to hitch a ride on his scooter.

Annie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is handler Kurt Kauffman’s service dog as well as a therapy dog. She has traveled all over the country with him since 2006, visiting schools and hospitals. The joyful little dog loves to cuddle and hitch a ride on Kurt’s scooter.

Several of the dogs and handlers also volunteer regularly at the Loma Linda VA Hospital, and were very excited to ride sbX for the first time.

Labradoodle Elliot is a sweet little girl who became a therapy dog when she was just 11 months old. She loves playing with other dogs or chewing on a favorite toy.

Labradoodle Elliot became a therapy dog when she was just 11 months old. This sweet little girl loves cuddling with people, playing with other dogs or chewing on a favorite toy.

“This is fantastic,” said handler Carolyn Richie, who was on board with her Labradoodle Elliot. “It’s really comfortable, the air conditioning is great, and the layout is perfect. There’s a lot of room under the seats for a dog to stretch out. I think I’m going to start leaving my car at the Palm and Kendall park and ride and take sbX to the VA. It’s takes about as long to ride sbX as it does to drive, and this way I don’t have to worry about trying to find a parking spot. It also gives us a chance to meet new people!”

At the end of each quarter or semester, the therapy dogs visit CSUSB, Chaffey College and University of Redlands to help soothe faculty, students and staff during finals.

At the end of each quarter or semester, the therapy dogs visit CSUSB, Chaffey College and University of Redlands to help soothe faculty, students and staff during finals.

At the end of each quarter or semester, teams from Comfort Pets visit college campuses at CSUSB, Chaffey College and University of Redlands. Their P.A.W.S. (Pet Away Worries & Stress) event is designed to help soothe students, faculty & staff during finals.

Ginger looks into your eyes and understands what you say. She loves everyone, and will dance the Salsa, rollover and shake for a treat.

Ginger looks into your eyes and understands what you say. She loves everyone, and will dance the Salsa, rollover and shake for a treat.

According to Carlos Carrio, CSUSB’s Health and Wellness Coordinator, “Studies have shown it reduces blood pressure, reduces stress and it reduces cortisol levels.”

Wherever they go,  therapy dogs make people smile and feel good.

Wherever they go, therapy dogs make people smile and feel good.

“When you see your dog change a person’s life, it’s very rewarding,” said Linda Smith. “There’s a magic in these dogs that makes people laugh, relax and feel good. You can literally see the difference. It makes you a better person–happier and healthier. And it’s all free of charge!”

Siberian Husky Rusty was a rescue dog that chose Ron to be his new owner. His gentle, loving and and friendly nature makes him new friends wherever he goes.

Siberian Husky Rusty was a rescue dog that chose Ron to be his new owner. His gentle, loving and friendly nature makes him new friends wherever he goes.

For more photos of the therapy dogs on sbX, visit our Flickr album.

Want to meet the therapy dogs in person? Their next public appearance is on August 1st from 9-11 a.m., where they will be participants at a Teachers’ Breakfast event hosted by the Office Depot on Hospitality Lane. Enjoy prizes, special sales  and make some new furry friends!

You can learn more about Comfort Pets and how therapy dogs are making a difference in people’s lives, by visiting their website at www.comfort pets.org.

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Like this story? All of our stories may be freely shared and published.

Comfort Pets therapy teams

Comfort Pets therapy teams

 

Hot weather travel tips & cooling centers

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Summer Safety Tips

With summer here, it’s important than ever for bus riders to stay hydrated and cool.  Below are a few travel tips to help you beat the heat.

  • Always carry water with you and drink it regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Try freezing a water bottle the night before to carry with you the next day.
  • Protect your skin by wearing a good sunscreen. Preventing direct sunlight from hitting your head can help you stay cool. Use an umbrella or a hat to create your own shade.
  • Wear lightweight, light colored clothing to help ventilate the body and block the sun. Avoid non-breathing synthetic clothing which can trap heat and cause you to overheat.
  • Try to plan your travel for early morning or in the evening when temperatures are cooler. UseNexTrip real time bus arrival info to reduce wait times at the bus stop.

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Cooling Centers

Spending a few hours in an air-conditioned environment can bring down the body’s core temperature and make it easier to handle the heat. Older and/or frail adults, homeless people, parents with small children and persons with health conditions that may be made worse by the weather should consider spending time in a cooling center, particularly between 1pm and 5pm when temperatures are at their highest. Cooling centers may also have water and other liquids available to protect against dehydration.

BLOOMINGTON 

Bloomington Branch Library
(909) 877 – 1453
10145 Orchard St., Bloomington, CA 92316
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 11::00 am – 7:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 19

CHINO HILLS

Chino Hills James S. Thalman Branch Library
(909) 590 – 5380
14020 City Hall Dr., Chino Hills, CA 91709
Monday – Thursday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Routes 65 & 365

FONTANA

 Cypress Community Center
(909) 349 – 6988
8380 Cypress Ave., Fontana, CA 92335
Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 14

Don Day Community Center
(909) 349 – 6997
14501 Live Oak Ave., Fontana, CA 92337
Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 82

Lewis Library & Technology Center
Fontana Branch Library
(909) 574 – 4500
8437 Sierra Ave., Fontana, CA 92335
Monday – Thursday 10:00 am – 9:00pm
Friday & Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 14

Heritage Neighborhood Center
(909) 428 – 8820
7350 W. Liberty Parkway, Fontana, CA 92336
Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 67

GRAND TERRACE

Grand Terrace Branch Library
(909) 783 – 0147
22795 Barton Rd., Grand Terrace, CA 92313
Monday – Wednesday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Thursday –  Friday 10:00 am  –  6:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 325

HIGHLAND 

Highland Sam J. Racadio Library
(909) 425 – 4700
7863 Central Ave., Highland, CA 92346
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 10:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Thursday, Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 15

ONTARIO

 De Anza Community and Teen Center
(909) 395 – 2030
1405 S. Fern St., Ontario, CA 91761
Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 83

Dorothy A. Quesada Community Center
(909) 930 – 3344
1010 S. Bon View Ave., Ontario, CA 91761
Monday – Friday 8:00 am –  8:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 61

RIALTO

Carter Branch Library
(909) 854 – 4100 x28148
2630 N. Linden Ave., Rialto, CA 92377
Monday – Thursday 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 22

SAN BERNARDINO

Fifth Street Senior Center
(909) 384 – 5430
600 W. 5th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92410
Monday – Thursday 8:00am – 4:00pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 14

UPLAND

George Gibson Senior Center
(909) 981 – 4501
250 N. Third Ave., Upland, CA 91786
Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 66 and 67

YUCAIPA

City of Yucaipa Community Center
(909) 790 – 7461
34900 Oak Glen Rd., Yucaipa, CA 92399
Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 am – 6:00 pm
Served by Omnitrans Route 310

health care infographics about heat stroke

Spagnolo New Chair of Omnitrans Board, Dailey Vice Chair

New Omnitrans Board Chair Sam Spagnolo (left) and Vice Chair Ron Dailey.

New Omnitrans Board Chair Sam Spagnolo (left) and Vice Chair Ron Dailey.

Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Pro Tem Sam Spagnolo takes the helm of the Omnitrans Board of Directors on July 1, 2015.  Loma Linda Council Member Ron Dailey was elected Vice Chair at the June 3 Board meeting.  Both will serve a two-year term.

Spagnolo succeeds outgoing Board Chair Alan Wapner, Mayor Pro Tem of Ontario.  The 20-member Omnitrans Board consists of the County Board of Supervisors and elected officials representing each of the 15 cities Omnitrans serves.

“I appreciate the opportunity to guide the Board to ensure that Omnitrans operates effectively and efficiently to deliver vital transportation services to our communities,” said Spagnolo.  “All people in the San Bernardino Valley benefit from improvements to our public transportation system, including infrastructure projects like the new San Bernardino Transit Center opening in September, to enhance regional connectivity and expand transportation options.”

Spagnolo joined the Omnitrans Board in 2011 and was elected Vice Chair in 2013. He has chaired the Board’s Operations & Safety Committee since 2014 and served on the Plans & Programs Committee since 2011. Spagnolo was elected to the Rancho Cucamonga City Council in 2004.  He also serves on the League of California Cities on the Employee Relations Policy Committee and as Vice President of the Inland Empire Desert Mountain Division, rising to President in September. He is Chair of the Inland Empire Task Force, and Vice-Chair of the Foothill Freeway Corridor Design Authority. Spagnolo is a retired Fire Captain with thirty-five years of service, retiring in 2003.

Dailey joined the Omnitrans Board in 2010, also serving on the Board’s Administrative & Finance Committee in 2010 and 2011 and on the Plans & Programs Committee from 2011 to present. He was first elected to the Loma Linda City Council in 2010.  Dailey is Dean of the School of Dentistry at Loma Linda University, where he has worked since 1975.

Omni Profile: From Coach Operator to Trainer

Steve SisnerosName: Steve Sisneros
Joined Omnitrans: 2002
Previous positions: Coach Operator, Coach Operator Instructor
Promoted: April 2015
New Position: Fleet Safety and Training Instructor

“Having been a Coach Operator, I understand what’s it like to be out there every day as a driver. And as a former Coach Operator Instructor, I know how to teach and evaluate students to help them succeed. I guess you could say I’ve been on both sides of the table.

“In some ways it allows me to approach things with a fresher perspective. For a lot of our seasoned trainers, it’s been 10 or 12 years since they were coach operators.  A lot has changed since then–especially in technology–and that brings new challenges.

“Take cell phones, for example. Before, people would just pay their fare and find a seat. Now you have passengers who are talking on the phone or trying to text while they are at the farebox. A action that normally takes seconds now can take minutes while they fumble for their fare. It slows down the line of people waiting to board and can put you behind schedule. Sometimes it’s a doctor call or something that can’t be helped. It’s important for our coach operators to know how to politely handle that situation. It could be as simple as asking the person to step aside or take a seat while the other passengers board, then come up and pay their fare once they have their money or pass ready for the farebox.

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First day on the job. The training staff give Steve’s cubicle the traditional TP welcome.

 

“Controlling a coach and becoming familiar with the different quirks of each vehicle is relatively easy. Learning to manage passengers is a skill that can take a lifetime to master.

“As a training instructor, I want to keep  classes interesting and applicable to situations coach operators will run into on a regular basis. There’s a lot of material they have to absorb and skills they must become proficient in. My job is to help them succeed. Part of the reason I wanted to become a trainer was so that I could help make a difference in other people’s lives.

“I guess the most surprising moment for me so far was when a class I had been working with graduated. I was sending them on their way out the door, when one of them turned around and asked if they could hug me. I laughed and said sure. One by one they each came up and gave me a big hug. It still makes me blush, but it showed me that they appreciated my part in their training. It was a very humbling and unexpected experience.”

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