Tag Archives: rider profile

Bus couple reaches100 commendations

Some of you may remember Omnitrans regulars Herman and Patricia Aldridge. This husband and wife  team likes to catch coach operators in a random act of kindness. Every couple of weeks they stop by our office to write commendations for drivers they see making a difference in the community. Today they officially surpassed 100 driver commendations.

“One hundred and five to be exact,” laughs Patricia. “And I know all their names!”

The two became inspired to document do-gooders after their very first bus ride together. Diabetic and confined to a wheelchair,  Herman had previously spent 3 1/2 years completely housebound and afraid to go out in public until Patricia convinced him to try traveling on the bus with her.  Their coach operator, Frank Uribe, was so friendly that day and made them feel so comfortable that they’ve been riding ever since.

Today the couple is treating themselves to a “date day” of bus riding adventure.

“We don’t have any real plan of what we’re going to do,” says Herman. “We’re just going to go for a ride along different routes, visit some of our favorite drivers and see where we end up.”

He and Patricia smile at each other and squeeze hands. Spontaneity suits them just fine. They know it’s the little  things in life that are often the most special.

“Besides,” says Patricia. “We need more commendations to write!”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
   juno.carlson@omnitrans.org 

Dump the Pump contest winner for June 13

Congratulation to Gabriel Arellano, winner of a 31-Day Bus Pass in our Dump the Pump photo contest this week. The 21-year-old works for the City of Montclair as a recreation leader, where he sets up for parties and community events. Most of his income goes to help his family, and he relies on public transit for all his travel.

“This will really help us a lot,” said Gabriel. “I’ve been using Omnitrans since 2008 when I graduated high school. I like riding the bus. I love meeting new people, and it gives me a chance to travel to different cities and explore places I normally wouldn’t get to see.”

In his free time, Gabriel enjoys drawing abstract art. His dream is to one day open an art gallery and clothing store.

Dump the Pump Photo Contest
Enter our photo contest on Facebook during the month of June for your chance to win a Free 31-Day Bus Pass. A new winner is announced every Monday.  Click here for details.

Omnitrans rider’s inspirational life

When she was 12-years-old, Krystle Wheeler’s mother handed her money and a bus pass and told her to go have fun at the mall. “I am the oldest of five children,” laughed Krystle. “I think she just needed to get one of us out of the house. But I’ve have been riding the bus ever since.”

Now 26, Krystle is a student at Crafton Hills College where she is studying speech communication with a minor in math. Her plan is to earn a Masters of Divinity degree and become a United Methodist pastor. The process requires approximately 7 years of study, and applicants must also pass a credit check, criminal background check, a 3-part psychological exam and a written doctrine exam. Krystle is undaunted by the prospect.

“I really feel this is what I need to be doing with my life right now,” said Krystle. “I had taken a break from school for about 5 years. When I started up again last August, Omnitrans had started the Go Smart Program which allowed me to ride the bus for free with my student ID. I took it as a sign that this I where I needed to be. When I was going to school before, there were times I would panic because I didn’t have money for bus fare that week and had to stay home from class until I could afford it. Now I know I can go every day.”

About four years ago, Omnitrans played another important role in Krystle’s life when she decided to donate one of her kidneys to a total stranger. “I was listening to a Pro-Wrestling show on the Internet and heard about a wrestler who needed a kidney. I began researching how many people in this country need a kidney each year and found the numbers ranged in the tens of thousands. I knew I wanted to help and contacted the National Kidney Registry to find out how I could donate one of my own kidneys. I used Omnitrans to get to all the doctor’s appointments to get my bloodwork and preliminary testing done. I even rode Omnitrans to the Greyhound station so I could get to Scripps Hospital in San Diego where the surgery was performed.”

Krystle spent two days in the hospital and was off pain meds after two weeks. She doesn’t know who the woman is who received her kidney, but is happy that she was able to make a difference and would do it again if she could. Does she worry about what will happen to her if her remaining kidney becomes damaged? “Not at all,” says Krystle. “I would do it again if I could. I’m in excellent health. Generally kidney donors are in better shape than most of the population because of the extensive testing they have to pass. And in the rare instance where a donor has a problem with a remaining kidney, they get moved to the top of the donor list.”

Omnitrans has been with Krystle through every important stage of her life from her first mall excursion as a child to reaching out to save a stranger’s life to returning to school to pursue divinity studies. She encourages more people to take advantage of public transit and offers these words of advice to new riders. “Be safe, be aware of your surroundings, but enjoy the ride. I can’t think of anywhere else you can pay $4 to go everywhere you want to for an entire day.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Transplanted executive relies on iPhone and Omnitrans

New Omnitrans rider, Bert Chancellor moved here from Indiana at the end of January to accept a position with Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Moving from one state to another is a big change, and learning to get around a new city can be challenging. Discovering Omnitrans was a pleasant surprise for this executive.

“Because I didn’t know what kind of transit system was in place here, I used a rental car the first couple of days to scout out the area,” said Bert. “I was pleased to find that there were Omnitrans stops almost everywhere, which made it very easy for me to get wherever I needed to go. After two days, I turned in the rental car and have been using public transit ever since.”

The experience is a big change from what he is used to. “In Indiana, the process was much more difficult,” he explained. “I tried to use the bus service when I could, but there were only four or five routes and the coverage was absolutely terrible. The buses ran once every hour from seven in the morning to six at night. It’s so much easier here to get around.”

A technology buff, Bert also likes the fact that he can use his iPhone to find out route information. “The bus option on Google maps is really useful. I just plug in my location and destination, and it shows me the schedule times and bus stops along that route. It’s much easier than trying to navigate using the bus book. It makes it very simple to plan your route.”

Bert is looking forward to having the family together again this summer. His wife recently joined him and his two teenage boys will be coming out this summer once they are done with school. It’s hard being apart, but the family uses Face Time every night to spend time together and catch up on the day.

His experience with Omnitrans has been so good that Bert has made the decision to just keep one family vehicle and get rid of his second car. “It’s better for the environment, and I like the idea of giving back to my community by not putting another car on the road.”

What will his 16-year-old son think of his decision? Bert laughs, “It is what it is.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans A Great Solution for this Newlywed

Omnitrans Rider ProfileTwenty-two year old Susanne Bishop has been an Omnitrans rider for the past four years. She’s an online student at the University of Phoenix, where she’s studying business administration. “Being an online student takes a lot of discipline,” says Susanne. “But I’m pretty good at planning my time and staying on track. My goal is to one day open a health facility that works with special needs kids.”

Susanne is recently married, and she and her husband are expecting a new baby in September. Because her husband’s job is half an hour away in El Monte, he uses the family car to make the commute while Susanne uses the bus to get around town and run errands or go to her doctor appointments. She’s very much an on-the-go type person, and enjoys taking shopping trips, visiting family or grabbing a bite to eat with friends. “Inland Center Mall is one of my favorite shopping destinations. For hair appointments, I like the Savvy Salon on Route 66. They have a great atmosphere, are always friendly and get you in and out quickly. They’re such good people.”

Susanne is very comfortable riding the bus and is happy with the money she is able to save. “I’m so familiar with the different routes that it’s easy for me to get where I need to go,” she explains. “And it would be really expensive for us to have a second car. Right now it costs us about $80 a week in gas just for my husband to drive back and forth to work.”

For some of Susanne’s friends, the thought of riding the bus makes them apprehensive. “They think it will take forever to get somewhere. And they worry about it being dangerous. I tell them it’s not like that at all. And most of the drivers are very nice and helpful and go out of their way to make sure you feel safe and looked after.”

To show them what she means, Susanne will invite friends to take the bus with her and go out for food. “They are always surprised at how fast it is,” she laughs. “The whole experience is nothing like what they expect. I tell them it’s really easy once you know the routes, and you can always just go online and look them up. Now my friends are riding more and more.”

–Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Student rider enjoys savings and independence

Rider profile - Marcus

Marcus, Chaffey College Student

RIDER PROFILE:  Marcus is a part-time student taking classes at Chaffey College. He’s interested in pursuing a career in health, possibly as a nurse. He is bilingual, has strong math and science skills and enjoys helping people– qualities he knows will open a lot of opportunities for him in this growing field.

As with most college students, money is always a concern, and Marcus takes advantage of the Go Smart College Pass program, which allows him to ride the bus for free with his student I.D. “Traveling by car would be really expensive for me,” he said. “I attend school four days a week, and driving there and back costs me about $8.00 a day. It adds up to almost $130 a month–and that’s not even including the trips I take for leisure activities! I enjoy getting out a lot and usually ride an average of 50 miles a day.”

Chaffey College students ride Omnitrans free with their student I.D.

Although he owns a car, Marcus only uses it on the weekend to drive to his job at Costco in Orange County. He’s hoping to transfer soon to the Rancho location, and would like to use Omnitrans for the trip instead. “I like not having to drive. Driving is stressful, expensive and sometimes it can take 15 minutes just to find parking. I can enjoy the ride, listen to my music, or read and just relax,” said Marcus. “I’m also very active and like to travel. Before when I wanted to drive somewhere I had to worry about affording the gas or think about the wear and tear on the car. Now I have no limits. I have the freedom to do whatever I want to do, and I really like that. It’s also very easy to ride Omnitrans because it’s destination-based rather than street-based. You don’t need a lot of transfers.”

His advice to new riders: “It’s a good idea to prepare in advance to get an idea of what do and which stops you need. Go to the Omnitrans website and check out their videos on how to ride the bus. This way you’ll know what to expect. Look through the Bus Book to go over your route, and if you have any questions call the people at 1-800-9-OMNIBUS. They’re really terrific. And don’t be shy about asking your bus driver for help. The drivers are good about explaining things and will look out for new people to make sure they get where they need to go.”

If you are a college student and would like information on the Go Smart College Pass program, visit the Omnitrans website.

–Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

How one mom used Omnitrans to change her life

Family of Omnitrans bus riders enjoy their travel time together

Kathleen and her two children

RIDER PROFILE:
When Kathleen Brink became disabled due to seizures 3 years ago, her world fell apart. Her doctor would no longer allow her to drive, she lost her job as a mortgage underwriter and she was in the middle of an ugly divorce and custody battle for her son and daughter, ages five and nine. She had no idea how she was going to get the kids back and forth to school or do the simple things she had always taken for granted like grocery shopping or running errands. One day she was sitting in the law office, crying and feeling completely helpless, when her lawyer pointed out that she did have another option. She could ride the bus.

Kathleen had never ridden a bus before. She’d had her own car since she was 16-years old, and the prospect of relying on public transit for everything she needed felt impossible and overwhelming. Still, she managed to push aside her anxiety to research the Omnitrans routes she needed and to work out a schedule.

“At first the kids were mortified to be going to school on a public bus,” laughed Kathleen. “This was a whole new experience for them. Now it’s like being a part of a little family. We know all the regular riders, and we all look out for each other. Paul, our driver, is a great guy and always watches after the kids. In a few more years my oldest starts high school and she’s really looking forward to taking the Omnitrans bus to school with her friends. It’s evidently the cool kid thing to do!”

Now Kathleen and her family take the bus and train wherever they need to go. There’s no car payment, no gas tank to fill, no insurance fees to worry about, and she likes not having to battle the traffic. Her life has changed in other ways as well.

“This was a lifestyle that was forced on me, but I decided early on to just embrace it and make it work,” said Kathleen. “During my first year of riding the bus, I lost 100 pounds. I was walking and getting out more and living healthier. It really made me see the world differently. I was never a big ‘green’ person before, but it actually felt good to know I had lessened my footprint on the earth. Now I’ve even taken it a step further and gone vegetarian!”

She added, “I love Omnitrans. Without you guys, I would have lost custody of my kids and would never have been able to maintain my independence. I’m healthier and more active than I was before. I‘ve also gotten to know our little group of regular riders and feel more connected to my community. You’ve made it possible for us to enjoy life in ways we never would have imagined.”

–Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely reposted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org