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Guide to May 2017 Service Changes, Ride Route 208 for FREE!

It’s time to get out and have some fun in the sun! The May 2017 Bus Book is here, with all-new service enhancements to help you make this a great summer!

Kicking off on May 1, 2017, Omnitrans is proud to introduce the brand new Freeway Express Route 208, connecting Yucaipa to San Bernardino! Ride Route 208 for FREE during May 1-5 and check it out for yourself!

The weekday, peak-hour service route begins at the Yucaipa Transit Center with limited stops at:

  • 10th and Yucaipa Blvd. in Yucaipa
  • Yucaipa Blvd. and Sand Canyon Rd./14th St.
  • Redlands Mall
  • Hunts and Hospitality Lane in San Bernardino
  • San Bernardino Transit Center

Map & schedule below. Click here to view enlarged .PDF file.

New Freeway Express Route 208 – Map

New Freeway Express Route 208 – Schedule

Minor time adjustments have been made to other Omnitrans routes, as listed below. Please refer to the new May Bus Book (click here for a preview!) and Trip Planner online before traveling on May 1st.

Service changes effective May 1, 2017:

Route 2:  Time adjustments have been made for  improved transfers at the San Bernardino Transit Center.

Route 61:  A new timepoint has been added at Holt and Ramona, replacing the timepoint at Holt & Mills to improve transfers to Route 88.

Route 80:  Runtime adjustments have been made to and from the Ontario Airport.

Route 88:  A new timepoint has been added at Ramona and Holt to improve transfers to Route 61.

Route 208:  New Freeway Express Service, from Yucaipa to San Bernardino, with limited stops in Yucaipa, Redlands and San Bernardino.

Route 365: A new timepoint at Fairfield Ranch and Central has been added.  Timepoints at Los Serranos and Rincon have been eliminated.

More weekend service has been added to Routes 1 and 61 on weekends, and Route 215 on Sunday.  Additional PM trips have also been added to Route 14 on Sunday.

Minor changes:

Weekdays:  Routes  8, 61, 85, 88,  215, 290, 365.

Saturday: Routes 1, 2, 11, 19, 20, 61, 80, 81, 88, and 365.

Sunday:  Routes 1, 2, 14, 61, 80, 88, 215 and 365.

2016 – An Omnitrans Year in Review

As 2016 comes to a close, Omnitrans looks back at a year that brought cause for celebration, agency innovations, and resources to better serve our community. While the list of accomplishments is lengthy, we selected six achievements that trump the rest.

San Bernardino Transit Center Turns One – Our transportation hub, the San Bernardino Transit Center, celebrated one year of operation. Since opening its doors in September 2015, nearly 5,000 passengers pass through the SBTC each weekday, connecting to Omnitrans local and express routes as well as neighboring agencies such as Mountain Transit, Victor Valley Transit Authority, and Pass Transit.

Omnitrans celebrated the milestone with a Community Day of live music, refreshments, promotional giveaways, and the Green Scenes Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest. Community members experienced the amenities of the LEED Gold Certified transit center and enjoyed the artistic talents of our participants. Take a trip down memory lane and view our photo album online.

Service to ONT Airport Commences – During fall service changes, Omnitrans Route 80 re-routed to serve Ontario International Airport for the first time in over a decade! In partnership with the airport, Route 80 now makes two stops (one at each terminal) every hour – just one of several planned enhancements to come to the West Valley area in the future.

New Partnership Opens the Bike Hubitat at SBTC – To commemorate Bike Month, Omnitrans joined forces with the Inland Empire Biking Alliance and San Bernardino Generation Now to introduce the Bike Hubitat at the SBTC. The low-cost, DIY workshop teaches community members how to maintain and repair their own bicycles under guidance of knowledgeable IEBA staff, all while utilizing the organization’s tools. The program is ongoing and Omnitrans riders can stop by the Hubitat on any Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 3-6 p.m. for a bike tune-up!

Website Gets a Mobile-Friendly Facelift – To enhance our communication experience with customers, we gave our website a much needed revamp! The creative refresh streamlined our content for easier browsing, but most importantly, our website was optimized for viewing on mobile devices – a major advantage in today’s smartphone-dominated world! If you haven’t already, be sure to visit our website at www.omnitrans.org for travel information, purchasing passes, real-time bus arrivals, and to plan your trip ahead of time.

Welcoming the Special Transportation Services Department – This year, Omnitrans welcomed a new department to our agency. Special Transportation Services (formerly Vtrans) provides one-on-one or group training for seniors and individuals with disabilities to use public transportation, and oversee the Ride Program, which allows taxi fares at a discounted rate for eligible residents who cannot use the bus, among other things.

The new department aims to create programs and provide resources that will provide senior citizens or those living with a disability easy mobility. “If we can give them back some of that freedom, then we’re improving their quality of life which is what it’s all about at the end of the day. How we can improve that is what we’re always going to advocate,” says Director Nathan Churan.

Omnitrans Celebrates 40th Anniversary – Last on our list, but certainly not least, 2016 marked our 40th year serving the San Bernardino Valley! This huge milestone was celebrated throughout the month of October, with customer appreciation giveaways at our transit centers, trivia contests on social media, and a huge online sweepstakes with 40 prizes to give away. Thank you all for celebrating with us! Take a look back at our history and what the outlook is for our next 40 years by watching our 40th Anniversary video.

On to 2017! We look forward to further enhancing transit in the San Bernardino Valley and increasing connectivity, with new Metrolink service at the San Bernardino Transit Center and additional Freeway Express routes – just to name a few of the things we have in store! Thank you for coming along on the ride with us.

2016 Holiday Season Bus Schedule

happy-holidays

The holiday season is upon us! As you plan your travel this season, keep in mind that Omnitrans buses will not be in service on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25th. Bus service will resume on Monday, December 26th. Our administrative offices will be closed on Monday, December 26th to observe the holiday.

The following week, buses will not be in service on Sunday, January 1st, 2017 for New Year’s Day, and will resume on Monday, January 2nd. Our administrative offices will be closed on Monday, January 2nd.

Thank you for joining us along for the ride in 2016, our 40th year of service! Omnitrans wishes you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and a prosperous new year.

For all the latest info & news, plus real-time bus arrival times via NexTrip, download the official Omnitrans mobile app for FREE on the iTunes app store or Google Play!

40th Anniversary Sweepstakes Winners Announced!

Last month, we reached an important landmark which you may have heard a thing or two about – our 40th anniversary! As part of our celebration, we gave away 40 prizes, one for each year that Omnitrans has proudly served the San Bernardino Valley.

Winners were chosen at random from our pool of 700-plus sweepstakes entries, and the grand prize winner of a $400 Visa gift card and twelve 31-day bus passes is Juan Perez of Fontana! Thanks to all who entered.

Juan Perez

Juan Perez of Fontana, the grand prize winner!

“When you first called me, I didn’t know who it was. I was at work and didn’t believe it,” Juan tells us of the surprise congratulatory phone call from Omnitrans. “After I heard the voicemail message and called back, then I thought ‘Okay, this is legit.’”

Juan first learned about the giveaway when he noticed the advertisement on an Omnitrans bus. We were pleased to know that he found out about the sweepstakes the “old school” way in an age dominated by digital and social media!

Omnitrans has been a part of the 28-year-old’s life for many years, tracing back to his days as a high school student, when he took the bus home after school. “I didn’t know all the routes back then, and I would end up getting lost sometimes,” Juan laughs as he reminisces.

These days, Juan rides Omnitrans when he and his brother feel like enjoying a day together at San Manuel Casino in Highland, or simply choose to leave their car at home.

“It’s helpful if you don’t want to take an Uber or drive yourself. It’s a lot cheaper than those options,” he says. “Or, if I want to have an [adult] beverage, I obviously don’t want to drive, and I feel safe riding Omnitrans.”

Juan is thankful to have entered the drawing, and the gift card will definitely come in handy for him this holiday season! “Thanks, Omnitrans for the prize and congratulations on your 40-year anniversary!” says a delighted Juan.

For the full list of our 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes winners, please click here.

Single Dad and Family Thrive on Freeway Express Service

We met Vincent and his family one morning while riding Route 215, one of Omnitrans’ Freeway Express routes, to Downtown Riverside. He and his two children, Jeremy and Destiny, ages 3 and 2, respectively, board the bus every morning to head from home in San Bernardino to Riverside, where he drops them off at daycare before he goes about his day.

“My car has been down for about a month now, so we ride Omnitrans every morning to Riverside and back to San Bernardino when [the kids] get out at 4 p.m.,” Vincent tells us as he holds Destiny in his lap and her brother, Jeremy, looks out the window. “It’s an efficient and quick way to get where we need to go.”

vincent

Route 215 has been a bit of a life saver for their family. In just a few weeks of riding, they have become acquainted with the drivers and grown to enjoy the experience of making the bus part of their daily routine.

“The drivers on this route are awesome and reliable. They do a great job and we never feel unsafe riding the bus,” Vincent tells us. “Not only that, but I love that the freeway express route is timely. I know exactly when the bus will depart from the San Bernardino Transit Center and I don’t have to wait around for it to arrive.”

Timeliness is key, especially when connecting to two other routes during your trip, like Vincent and his children do. All in all, they make it to daycare in about an hour, thanks to the Freeway Express route’s limited stops.

By the time we reach the second and last stop of Route 215 at the Riverside Transit Center, the two young kids are getting antsy and ready to play. “If only we all woke up with this much energy and didn’t need energy drinks or coffee in the morning!” jokes Vincent. They wave as they hop off the bus to catch their RTA connection for last leg of their trip.

Omnitrans currently operates two different freeway express routes, Route 215 from San Bernardino to Riverside via I-215, and Route 290 from San Bernardino to Montclair via I-10.

Omnitrans Offers Free Rides for Vets on Veterans Day

To honor our veterans on Veterans Day, Omnitrans is offering free rides to the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces on Friday, November 11, 2016. It is our way of saluting those individuals who have contributed to protecting our nation’s freedom.

To ride, veterans simply present an ID card indicating their retired military status upon boarding any of Omnitrans’ vehicles including sbX, Freeway Express, OmniGo community shuttles, and our local fixed-route buses. Accepted forms of ID include those issued by US Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs, San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

omni-vetsday16-slide-1440x652-ver2

Since January 2015, Omnitrans has offered rides at a reduced fare for the approximate 79,000 veterans living in the San Bernardino Valley. Required methods of proof of eligibility for such fare discount include:

  • County of San Bernardino Military Veterans ID card
  • US Department of Veteran Affairs ID card
  • Department of Defense retired ID card, or
  • A transit agency Veterans ID card

If you are a veteran and would like to apply for the San Bernardino County Military Veterans ID card, please click here to apply online.

A Closer Look at Omnitrans’ Growth from a Past Driver’s Perspective

Change is unavoidable, especially for a public transit agency in the ever-changing landscape of Southern California, but taking a closer look at how things were 40 years ago illustrates just how far Omnitrans has come! This month, as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we connected with one of our original employees – Richard Breeden – who was integral in developing some important practices that are still part of our daily operations in connecting our community.

It was 1958 when Richard joined San Bernardino Valley Transit, which would become Omnitrans. After being discharged from the US Army, and a short stint at Santa Fe Railroad, Richard saw a job opening for bus drivers and decided to apply, hoping to utilize his experience as an Army driver. After completing a test drive, he was asked if he could begin the 14-day training process the next day.

“I was given a rule book to read before coming in the next day,” remembers Richard of the fast-paced process. “I had to learn all the routes, rules, regulations, operation procedures, and fares all in one night!”

Richard Breeden

Richard in action as the first bus driver trainer around the time Omnitrans was formed.

Many things were different in the transit world in those days. Base fare was 25 cents, the buses did not have wheelchair lifts, and there was no air conditioning for those hot summer days! In addition to conducting a 20-40 foot bus without power-steering, it was the driver’s duty to collect fare, sort it and run it through a changer to generate change for the next stop. Hello, forearms of steel! 

It was only Richard’s seventh day of training when he was asked to train a fellow student! Hesitantly, Richard complied with the dispatcher’s request and from that moment forward, he was no longer a student, but as a trainer.

Of course, that’s not how it works today. Four decades later, Omnitrans’ coach operators must complete five to six weeks of training and education with a certified trainer, including classroom work, behind the wheel experience, and even a state-of-the-art coach simulator with the most advanced technology.

In 1962, Richard was the employee who took the initiative to approach the city of San Bernardino to voice the need for formal training of our drivers. A few months later, a sign-up sheet was posted for anyone interested in being a trainer. Richard did not sign up.

When the transit manager asked why his name was not on the list, Richard responded that he was “happy being a bus driver.” After being convinced to add his name to the pool of applicants, he scored an interview and was selected for the newly created role.

After developing a comprehensive three-week training program that included diagrams and obstacle courses, City Hall approved Richard’s plan. The students’ training period culminated with a test created by Richard, which required a passing score of 80% or higher. Those who scored below that threshold were terminated.

Richard Breeden

Richard came back to Omnitrans for a visit last summer and posed with Old Blue, our vintage 1958 bus, which he found and was also the first to drive at special events around town.

In the years following, Richard revamped the driver’s rule book, and partnered with the National Safety Council to create the Million Mile Club for transit operators, an exclusive club for drivers who have driven 1,000,000 miles accident-free. He strengthened our partnerships with law enforcement by coordinating mutually beneficial trainings on our vehicles, and created positive relations between Omnitrans and community organizations including coordination of the first employee blood drive after a mechanic’s daughter found herself in need during surgery. The blood drive continues to this day.

Richard retired in 2000 as Fleet Safety and Training Supervisor at Omnitrans, but returned for special events to drive our 1958 vintage bus, Old Blue, which he found and drove for the first time. Although we have vastly grown from a small agency of just 29 vehicles in 1976, it is employees such as Richard who had the foresight to implement ideas that continue to impact our agency four decades later.