Tag Archives: san bernardino revitalization

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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Transit Initiatives Give Business A Boost

Do pedestrian plazas, bike lanes and rapid-transit bus systems actually benefit nearby businesses? They do, according to findings recently reported in the New York Times.

Using data from the Department of Finance, the NYC transportation department was able to review sales figures reported by small businesses who had been directly affected by city projects. The results were astonishing. Installations of bike lanes and small plazas increased retail sales 172% for neighboring businesses and commercial vacancies decreased 49%.

Studies also tied revamped bus service to a 71% increase in retail sales, citing increased ridership and faster-moving buses as drawing more patrons to the businesses.

Next year, San Bernardino businesses along the E Street Corridor may be enjoying some of these same benefits with the launch of the new sbX Bus Rapid Transit line. These 60-foot articulated vehicles will run every 15 minutes, stopping at one-mile intervals along the busy corridor. During peak travel times, sbX will have 10-minute headway.

With prominent destinations along the route that include Cal State San Bernardino, Loma Linda University Medical Center and the Veterans Hospital, Omnitrans anticipates that the sbX Bus Rapid Transit service will not only further increase its rapidly growing ridership,  it will also bring an influx of new customers to local businesses.

Great things are coming to San Bernardino. Are you ready to get on board?

San Bernardino Transit Center: a closer look

Please click photo above for expanded view.

Several of you were interested in a a closer look at the site plan for the San Bernardino Transit Center, so we’re posting a more detailed version. Keep in mind that these plans are only 15% and are subject to change. The design and construction is being managed by the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG). Construction is tentatively set to begin in June 2013. The project is expected to be open by September 2014, but the bus bays will be open by January 2014 for transfers with sbX.

Right now the building is about 17,000 square feet and will include:

  • Customer service area
  • Public restrooms
  • Security
  • Operator break room and restrooms
  • Public meeting rooms and training center
  • Two small retail spaces (empty shells)
  • Maintenance area
  • Bike center (with secure bike parking, repairs, and possible short-term rentals)

What do you think of the plans for the new transit center?