Tag Archives: public transit BRT

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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How to ride sbX – what you need to know

Have you ridden the sbX BRT Green Line yet? It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

Check out our video for everything you need to know on how to ride right on sbX!

sbX BRT stations before and after

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

Have you ridden sbX yet?  Tell us what you think.

 

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A look at sbx station security

Omnitrans security tests an emergency phone at an sbX station platform

Security Supervisor Mark Crosby tests an emergency phone at an sbX station platform

With the launch of sbX rapid transit service fast approaching, our security team has been working diligently behind the scenes to ensure they are well prepared.

It’s a challenge Omnitrans security supervisor Mark Crosby takes seriously.

“The stations, the park-and-rides were all designed with crime prevention in mind,” he explains.

sbX station platform at Cal State San Bernardino

sbX station platform at Cal State San Bernardino

“Extensive planning went into the stations using CPTED, Crime Prevention Though Environmental Design. It was important to have good visibility from the street for our security patrols and law enforcement. Artwork was strategically placed so that it could be easily monitored and transparent glass was used.”

Transparent art panel at the sbX VA Hospital station

A transparent art panel at the sbX VA Hospital station platform

Omnitrans also collaborated with other local groups to form a Safety and Security Council that focused on safety and security planning of the sbX stations. The Council was comprised of representatives from the following groups:

  • San Bernardino Police Department
  • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Terrorism Liaison Officer
  • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Loma Linda Station
  • San Bernardino County Fire Department, Office of Emergency Services
  • Loma Linda University Medical Center Security
  • CalTrans
  • SanBAG
  • Loma Linda Fire Department
  • California State University at San Bernardino Police Department
  • VA Hospital Police in Loma Linda
Crews test the security cameras that monitor each sbX station

Crews test the security cameras that monitor each sbX station

The Council worked together to establish appropriate security procedures and responses. For example, they wanted to ensure that customer service phones were available as well as emergency call boxes, so that law enforcement wasn’t getting call about bus arrivals.

Unlike bus stops and transit centers which are maintained by the cities, the sbX station platforms are owned and maintained by Omnitrans.

The new Omnitrans sbX Transit Security patrol car

The new Omnitrans sbX Transit Security patrol car

“This is the first time we’ve owned outside property, and we are taking pro-active measures to prevent potential problems before they happen,” says Crosby. “We monitor station activity 24/7 with patrols and cameras. We have also enhanced our team with several new officers who will be patrolling the corridor looking for things like suspicious activity, trespassing after hours, vandalism loitering, medical issues and mechanical problems.”

Transit security patrols are equipped to handle any emergency

Transit security patrols are equipped to handle any emergency

Crosby says the officers, contractors from General Security Services, are highly skilled professionals whose training includes crisis management, conflict resolution, emergency response procedures, traffic control, first aid, diversity and crowd control. They are also licensed ham radio operators equipped to handle emergency communications.General Security Services also supplies the specially equipped patrol truck the officers will use on their rounds. Designed by a former cop, the vehicle is developed with the officer in mind.

sbx transit security

It features a light bar with a high beam LED spotlight bar beneath, a front push bar, a power inverter, a PA system, a toolkit, a trauma bag, yellow security tape, a laptop, emergency barriers with flashers, and orange pylons.

At the Omnitrans San Bernardino office, sbX security officers observe station activity 24/7 from a central security hub. Not only do they watch for suspicious activity, they also monitor station conditions for potential hazards from illegally parked cars to overflowing trash cans.

“Security has been a key component throughout this process,” explains Mark. “From station development to implementing new monitoring technologies, our primary goal has been to ensure safety along the sbX corridor.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

sbX Security Officers monitor station activity 24/7 from a central security hub

sbX security officers monitor station activity 24/7 from a central security hub

San Bernardino Transit Center unites sbX BRT and Metrolink extension

Metrolink Extension and New Transit Center will enhance the connections between Inland Empire transportation systems 

The Metrolink passenger rail extension and the Omnitrans sbX rapid transit service provide new public transit options to Inland Empire residents.

SAN BERNARDINO, CA  – Changing the way people travel throughout the Inland Empire is the goal of two projects that started construction on Tuesday, February 25, following a groundbreaking ceremony in downtown San Bernardino.

The first project is the Downtown San Bernardino Passenger Rail Project (DTSBPRP), which will extend the Metrolink line from the historic Santa Fe Depot one mile east, where it will join with the second project,  the future San Bernardino Transit Center, to be constructed at Rialto Avenue and “E” Street in the city.

These two projects represent a partnership between the Federal Transit Administration, San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), Omnitrans, Metrolink, and the City of San Bernardino.   Speakers at the groundbreaking included Leslie Rogers, Regional Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, California Transportation Commissioner Joe Tavaglione, SANBAG President Bill Jahn, County Supervisor James Ramos, Omnitrans Chairman Alan Wapner, and Patrick Morris, who is both Metrolink Chairman and City of San Bernardino Mayor.

View more photos from the groundbreaking ceremony on Flickr.

Mayor Patrick Morris welcomed the crowd by stating,  “This marks the culmination of many years of work to bring these transformative projects to construction.  These two projects are examples of how creating intermodal connections between commuter rail, bus rapid transit, and local and regional bus service can provide enhanced benefits to current transit uses and make these travel modes more attractive to future riders in the region.”

Officials at the groundbreaking of the San Bernardino Transit Center

Officials pose with a punch card at the groundbreaking of the San Bernardino Downtown Passenger Rail Project and the San Bernardino Transit Center

Some major changes will occur at the historic Santa Fe Depot, currently the end of the line for the Metrolink commuter train service.  “Modifications at the Depot will create a beautiful grand entrance on the south side of the Depot and a new rail boarding area on the north side of the building,” explained Mayor Morris.  “A tall pedestrian bridge over the tracks will provide safe access for passengers boarding the trains going in either direction. The DTSBPRP will feature the addition of double tracks from the Santa Fe Depot  to the new Transit Center, along with roadway improvements.”

The Transit Center will be a multi-modal transportation hub where  13 local Omnitrans bus routes, the new sbX Bus Rapid Transit service, Victor Valley Transit Authority (buses from the high desert), Mountain Area Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) bus service, and Metrolink trains will all meet when the projects are completed.  The public can transfer from one mode of transportation to another at this hub and go in various directions.  Commuter rail service will eventually be extended nine miles further to the east via the future Redlands Passenger Rail Project. That project is still going through environmental studies.

“This is a great project, which will offer greater convenience and connectivity for the community,” stated Omnitrans Chairman of the Board Alan Wapner.  The Transit Center project represents more than a decade of visioning partnership between Omnitrans and SANBAG.

Members of the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce

Members of the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce are all smiles at the groundbreaking event.

The Transit Center will include a 7,500 sq. ft. building, 22 bus bays, customer service and pass sales office, security, restrooms, seating,  and shelter.  These amenities have not been available to transit customers in the past at one location.

“Combined costs for the two projects total $128 million, with funds derived from federal  sources ($37 million), state sources ($26.9 million), and local sources ($64.7 million),” stated SANBAG President Bill Jahn.  “Of the local funds, $27 million came from Measure I, the ½ cent sales tax approved by San Bernardino County voters for transportation improvements.”

The Transit Center is expected to be completed in Early 2015, while the Metrolink extension and Santa Fe Depot modifications should be completed by Summer 2016.

To follow the progress on these projects, please refer to the websites of SANBAG or Omnitrans:  www.sanbag.ca.gov   or   www.omnitrans.org.

Jane Dreher, Public Information Officer
San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG)
jdreher@sanbag.ca.gov 

Leslie Rogers of the FTA

Leslie Rogers of the Federal Transit Administration show his support for the groundbreaking ceremony of the future San Bernardino Transit Center.

sbX project enters operational testing phase

Traffic signal priority lights are up and being tested along the corridor.

Major construction of the sbX bus rapid transit line is now complete. Traffic controls have been lifted at most locations as the roadway is now paved and striped. New signs are installed along the corridor and traffic-signal-priority lights are installed at the intersections. Landscaping elements, sbX station pylon signs and unique community-inspired artwork bring the project to life and introduce aesthetic elements in the cities of San Bernardino and Loma Linda.

With the end of major construction, the focus shifts to the operational testing phase. Over the next several weeks, 60-foot-long articulated sbX buses will be seen on the road daily (with no passengers on board). Omnitrans Operations must test every facet of the line for the start of service in April 2014. A big part of this is driver training. In addition, electrical components – such as traffic signal priority lights, ticket vending machines and station emergency phones – will undergo testing. With these new elements introduced along the corridor, our goal is to help educate the public so that motorists, pedestrians and bus drivers will be safe. Please remember to:

  1. Pay attention. Buses will be on the road daily.
  2. Stay out of the dedicated bus-only lane.
  3. Watch for signs and obey them at all times

Still have questions about the project? Although major construction is complete, our website (www.omnitrans-sbx.com) is still a go-to source for helpful information. In addition, our toll-free helpline is operational 24/7. Give us a call at (855) SBX-NEWS (729-6397).

– Kelly Koehler
   kkoehler@westboundcommunications.com 

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