Tag Archives: public transit

San Bernardino Transit Center: A Symbol of Transformation 

New multi-modal hub opens to public on September 8

Touted as a tangible sign of transformation for both public transit and downtown, the San Bernardino Transit Center completion ceremony on August 24 featured the symbolic release of 200 butterflies. The Omnitrans multimodal hub, which opens to the public on September 8, is expected to serve 6,000 customers daily.

As a symbol of the transformative potential of the San Bernardino Transit Center, public officials released butterflies during the completion ceremony. From left, Omnitrans Board Chair Sam Spagnolo, Congressman Pete Aguilar, FTA Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers, Emcee and Director of Broadcasting for Inland Empire 66ers, Steve Wendt, and others.

As a symbol of the transformative potential of the San Bernardino Transit Center, public officials released butterflies during the completion ceremony. From left, Omnitrans Board Chair Sam Spagnolo, Congressman Pete Aguilar, FTA Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers, Emcee and Director of Broadcasting for Inland Empire 66ers, Steve Wendt, and others.

The $25 million facility connects 10 local and two freeway express Omnitrans bus routes, the sbX bus rapid transit line, and bus routes operated by neighboring Victor Valley Transit Authority and Mountain Transit. In 2017 Metrolink commuter rail service will be extended to the new transit center, with Redlands Passenger Rail service expected to arrive a few years later.

“Improving our public transit network is an important part of growing the Inland Empire economy. The San Bernardino Transit Center is a perfect example of the type of results we can achieve when communities work together to move our region forward,” said Representative Pete Aguilar. The U. S. Congressman pledged his support for a long-term surface transportation bill to increase funding levels for public transportation and highways, saying, “We need to stop kicking the can down the road.”

Representative Pete Aguilar cites the San Bernardino Transit Center as an example of how successful collaboration between government agencies can improve our transportation infrastructure.

Representative Pete Aguilar cites the San Bernardino Transit Center as an example of how successful collaboration between government agencies can improve our transportation infrastructure.

The existing MAP-21 surface transportation bill, which has been extended numerous times, is set to expire at the end of October. The Senate already has advanced a six-year authorization bill that increases investment in public transportation.  The House of Representatives will take up the issue this fall.  Fran Inman of the California Transportation Commission suggested going for a longer term bill. “Instead of six years, why not ten?” she said.

Located at the southwest corner of Rialto Avenue and E Street, the four acre site includes 22 bus bays and a 7,500 square foot building. Passengers will appreciate the enclosed climate-controlled lobby, interior and exterior seating, public restrooms, drinking fountains, bike racks, real time bus arrival signs, a customer service desk, ticket vending machine, and 24/7 on-site security. Two acres on the corner are available for future transit oriented development.

The San Bernardino Transit Center is a LEED Gold designed facility which includes drought tolerant landscaping and public art. The mural banner, “Exploration” by Louie Solano, hangs from the north side of the building.

The San Bernardino Transit Center is a LEED Gold designed facility which includes drought tolerant landscaping and public art. The mural banner, “Exploration” by Louie Solano, hangs from the north side of the building.

“We are proud that this facility was designed to meet LEED Gold standards,” said Sam Spagnolo, Omnitrans Board Chair and Mayor Pro Tem of Rancho Cucamonga.  “This means it boasts the latest and greatest in energy efficiency design and systems. There are solar panels on the roof. Of course, all of the landscaping is drought tolerant.”

Public art elements at the center include a transportation-themed mural banner, “Exploration” by local artist Louie Solano, on the north side of the building.  The bus turnaround features a 50-foot high, weathered steel plate sundial. Lobby walls are decorated with a mural featuring historic transit photos. A century ago, the same location was home to a car barn and tracks for the San Bernardino Valley Traction Company and Pacific Electric interurban rail services.

Mural artist Louie Solano and Federal Transportation Administration Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers

Mural artist Louie Solano and Federal Transportation Administration Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers

Project funding was provided by the Federal Transit Administration, Federal Highway Administration and the state of California through State Transit Assistance funds, Local Transportation Funds, and Proposition 1B funds. Omnitrans is the owner and operator of the San Bernardino Transit Center.

Federal Transportation Administration Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers applauded the “transformative potential” of the center and commended Omnitrans and San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) for their “perseverance in overcoming the challenges and hurdles” to take project from vision to reality. Omnitrans identified the property as an ideal location for a multimodal transit hub in the early 2000’s, but it was not until 2008 that the property was acquired from Union Pacific Railway Company.  Construction of the center finally began in February 2014.

FTA Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers speaks at the San Bernardino Transit Center opening.

FTA Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers speaks at the San Bernardino Transit Center opening.

San Bernardino Mayor and Omnitrans Board Member R. Carey Davis lauded the transit center’s economic benefits as it relates to redevelopment of downtown and gave credit to former mayor, Pat Morris for pushing for the transit center project forward.  SANBAG President and Victorville Councilmember Ryan McEachron said, “This multimodal approach to transportation, centered here in the hub of the county, is just the beginning of what is the future of transportation.  At SANBAG we are proud of this investment.”

SANBAG, the council of governments and transportation planning agency for San Bernardino County, managed design and construction.  HDR, Inc. is credited with facility design, Parsons Brinckerhoff handled construction management, and Kemp Bros Construction served as general contractor. 

Links:
-   Omnitrans photos: Flickr photo album
-   Artist Louie “Hippieone” Solano: http://www.hippieone.com/

Omnitrans mascot Buster the Bus stands beside a bus promoting the agency's newest Freeway Express service.

Omnitrans mascot Buster the Bus stands beside a bus promoting the agency’s newest Freeway Express service.

Dump the pump; treat yourself to transit!

dump the pump 2015

Do you feel like you deserve more spending money and more time to yourself? Maybe it’s time to dump the pump and treat yourself to public transit!

You see, while you were getting cut off by that aggressive driver this morning, our passengers were reading, surfing the web or listening to their favorite tunes.

While you were fillling up your gas tank, our passengers were treating themselves to lunch, movies or mall shopping with the money they saved by taking the bus.

And when you were circling that parking lot looking for a decent parking space, our passengers were being dropped off in front of their destinations.

Remember that $150 monthly insurance bill you got in the mail yesterday along with the $200 California car registration you forgot was coming due?  Our passengers were opening the 31-day pass they had bought online for $55 or less.

#dumpthepump

Thursday, June 18th is national Dump the Pump Day–the perfect time to ditch the car for the day and give public transit a try. What are you waiting for? Join the ranks of smart riders who choose the bus for their daily commute.

Of course, part of the fun of trying something different is posting a selfie to share with friends. We’ve got you covered! Follow this link for a Pledge to Ride certificate that you can pose with for your photo. You can even join people all across the nation who are posting selfies to the Dump the Pump event page.

Enjoy the ride!

dump the pump 2015

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

sbX celebrated with old & new friends

Thank you to everyone who joined us for free rides and giveaways during our sbX anniversary week. For us, the best part was seeing some favorite Omnitrans regulars and getting to know some of our new riders. Below are a few of the people we were able to spend some time with.

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Sisters and newbie riders Surely and Josh decided to take advantage of the sbX free ride coupon to visit one of the restaurants on Hospitality for lunch.

“We love riding sbX–it’s really nice,” said Surely. “I’m looking forward to going back to school at Valley College so I can start riding free with my student ID!”

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Our old friend veteran Ed Miller stopped by to say hello. He showed us the new leather cell phone case he had designed and embossed. Josh, who does porcupine quillwork, was very interested. “I should get you to make me a purse,” she told Ed thoughtfully.

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This little 2-year-old won our hearts when she played peek-a-boo with us at the Tippecanoe station. “She loves riding sbX and walking around the station with me,” her mom told us, smiling.

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Omni regular and Fontana resident Sandra has been riding so long that she knows all the routes by heart. She enjoys riding sbX and would love to see us expand the service to other areas. She was excited about our sbX giveaways like this Farmer Boys coupon.

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This charming veteran is part Scots-Irish and part Cherokee and used to race motorcycles in his younger days. He’s lived in this area since 1946, and remembers traveling the original Route 66. He likes how the sbX stations have helped to beautify the city again. He rides sbX frequently throughout the week to get to and from the VA Hospital.

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Dwayne Dennis is an old favorite among our coach operators, who have made him part of the Omnitrans family. When he stopped by the  Loma Linda Park & Ride for our travel mug giveaway, Coach Operator Mata asked us to take their photo together. Big smiles all around!

Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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.

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.

Australians try out Omnitrans coach simulator

Omnitrans coach simulator

A team from Advanced Training Systems in Melbourne, Australia were given a tour of the Omnitrans training facilities today by Omnitrans Fleet Safety and Training Supervisor Don Frazier.  Advanced Training Systems is a safety company hired by corporations to mitigate hazards and reduce costs associated with these incidents, much like  our ATAP committee here at Omni.

The group was joined by Enrique Mar of Oceanside, the developer of our new, in-house coach simulator system, who treated them to a hands-on demonstration. Enrique set up several scenarios with various challenges for our visitors to overcome, from glare or rain on the windshield, jaywalking pedestrians, aggressive drivers, busy streets and obstacle courses.

Our Australian friends had a wonderful time and were extremely impressed with our facility and the simulator, which will be used to train Omnitrans coach operators and help prepare them for challenging driving situations.

 

Bridge Program students do bus role play

Coach operator Bridge Program

There are limited spots still available in our Bridge Program.
Click here to sign up for a class session.

Our first Bridge Program class is  this week, and we’re here with a sneak peek behind-the-scenes. Funded by a Workforce Development Grant, the program introduces participants to the transit industry and teaches them how to apply for and successfully secure jobs as coach operators. 

The class covers everything from basic job application and interview tips to a general overview of coach operator skills. We had a little fun with them while they were doing coach operator and passenger role playing exercises.

The right way:

And the not-so-right way: