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Enjoy a Free Ride During Rideshare Week 2016 & Enter to Win Prizes!

Did you know that the average Inland Empire commuter spends almost 60 hours each year in traffic? That’s like a week and a half of vacation time!

California celebrates alternative modes of transportation during Rideshare Week, happening October 3-7 this year! It’s the perfect opportunity to change up your daily commute to work or simply enjoy a leisurely outing around town in a new way.

Omnitrans is making it easy for you to participate this year and reduce your time in traffic with a FREE ride on our buses, redeemable any day and any time during Rideshare Week! This offer is redeemable on Omnitrans, sbX, or OmniGo.

coupon-on-iphone-appMobile App Coupon
If you haven’t already, download the Omnitrans mobile app on your device and click the ‘Free Ride’ tab to obtain the digital coupon. Simply show your bus driver the coupon when you board any day between October 3 and 7. The driver will then issue you one free day pass which you may use for unlimited rides on that day only. Digital app coupons may be redeemed one per customer.

Print Coupon
You may also download and print the Omnitrans free ride coupon directly from our website. Hand the coupon to your bus driver upon boarding any day between October 3 and 7, and they will issue you a free day pass for unlimited rides that day. Print coupons may be redeemed one per customer.

Rideshare Week Prize Drawings
IE Commuter, the Inland Empire’s one-stop shop for transportation information, is a great resource for information about ridesharing and the benefits of sustainable transportation methods including riding the bus, carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, walking and telecommuting.
When you ride during Rideshare Week, you may enter to win prizes including an Ashley Furniture living room set, a one night stay at Palm Springs’ Ace Hotel & Swim Club, gift cards, and more! Simply visit www.IEcommuter.org to pledge your rideshare today, and you will automatically be entered into the drawing.

Ridesharing has proven to positively impact the individual’s finances and quality of life, as well as promote environment sustainability. Take the pledge today, enter to win prizes, and enjoy your free ride on Omnitrans this Rideshare Week 2016!

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CSUSB Students Head Back To School with Go Smart

The Coyotes are back on campus at Cal State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) this fall for the new school year, and Omnitrans’ Go Smart program continues to make navigating college life easier for students in our service area!

Students at GoSmart schools are entitled to unlimited rides during the school year, with just a simple swipe of their valid student ID card. And they can ride not only on school days, but any day and time of the week! For a complete list of partner schools, click here.

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Rosa, an English major, at the CSUSB sbX station. She is working toward becoming a teacher in her hometown of San Bernardino as a way of giving back to her community.

Rosa, a fifth-year English major at the university, takes advantage of the unlimited rides available to her as a GoSmart student every single day of the week. She has been riding Omnitrans the majority of her time at CSUSB, and it has proven to be a wallet-friendly choice.

“I totally ditched my car and left it at home,” says Rosa, who has a car she could drive to school every day, but has found that riding Omnitrans is the more convenient, money-saving option for her. “I don’t have to pay for a parking pass, which is really expensive.”

Rosa began riding our fixed-route system, but when sbX  rapid transit service was introduced , she has not only continued to save money, but also time since the bus makes fewer stops. “Now that there is sbX, which is faster, I don’t have to wait to get home,” Rosa shares. “It has cut my [commute] time by more than half.”

Similarly, chemistry major Joseph Barrera relies on Omnitrans for transportation to school every weekday.

“This is how I get here from Redlands every day,” says Joseph of Go Smart. “It’s pretty good!”

Riding Omnitrans from downtown Redlands, Joseph connects to the sbX Green Line at the San Bernardino Transit Center daily as he completes his third year of schooling. Joseph is not alone – many of his peers also utilize public transportation as they work toward achieving their academic goals.

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Go Smart students boarding Route 2 at CSUSB.

“Omnitrans’ four routes with direct service to CSUSB are essential to student success,” says Thomas W. Gaffery, director of parking & transportation at CSUSB. “The GoSmart program allows our students to save money on gas and a parking permit, as well as enhancing CSUSB’s commitment to sustainability.”

Saving time and money while decreasing your carbon footprint – Go Smart is definitely the convenient way to go! To plan your trip, check out our route and schedule information online.

Therapy dogs climb aboard sbX

Passengers boarding one of our sbX buses last week enjoyed a ride-along with a dozen therapy dogs from Rim of the World Comfort Pets. The dogs were all different breeds, sizes, and personalities but they all had one goal: to bring a smile to people’s faces.

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After their initial surprise, riders had fun interacting with the dogs, talking with handlers and taking selfies to share with their friends. To their delight, they found that each dog had its own business card with its photo and story. When meeting a new person, the dog would touch a paw to the card to “autograph” and share it with them.

Each therapy dog has his own business card with name, bio & handler's name.

Each therapy dog has his own business card with name, bio & handler’s name.

As passengers got off at their stops, we asked them how they had enjoyed their trip.

“Best ride ever,” grinned one young man. “I wish every bus ride was like this!”

Handler Nancy with Biscuit. Bicuit is a Saint Bernard, Siberian Husky mix who thinks she’s a lapdog, She has one blue eye and one brown which gives her a distinctive look.

Comfort Pets CEO Linda Smith told us that they get that reaction a lot. “Even the grumpiest people break into a smile when they see the dogs,” she laughed. “They’re irresistible.”

Bernese Mountain dog Emma loves hiking, swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. She also likes to glam up her look with a pair of sunglasses. Cockapoo Wallie loves frisbee and playing ball. He's also a great cuddler.

Bernese Mountain dog Emma loves hiking, swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. She also likes to glam up her look with a pair of sunglasses. Cockapoo Wallie loves frisbee, going for walks and playing ball. He’s also a great cuddler and kisser.

According to their website at www.comfortpets.org, a therapy dog’s primary job is to make positive physical contact with individuals in need of comfort.

The animals are often hugged, petted, brushed, talked to, or simply sit on a person’s lap. Many dogs perform small tricks for those they visit; or even play carefully structured games. The dogs and their handlers provide comfort and therapeutic kindness in medical, social service, and educational settings.

In addition to being a therapy dog, Savannah is trained to alert handler Bob when his blood sugar spikes.

In addition to being a therapy dog, Savannah is trained to alert handler Bob when his blood sugar spikes. She also adores motorcycle rides!

Some of the therapy dogs perform specific services for their handlers as well. Savannah, a French Brittany, has been trained to alert handler Bob Bernier to changes in his blood sugar levels.

“I’m diabetic,” he explained. “And Savannah has an incredible sense of smell. When she picks up a spike in my blood sugar, she alerts me by running in a circle.”

You can't help but smile when you look at Dobby. This funny little pug loves to eat and enjoys a good game of fetch or tug-of-war.

You can’t help but smile when you look at Dobby. This funny little pug loves to eat and enjoys a good game of fetch or tug-of-war.

Bob chuckled. “As part of her training, I always reward her with a treat. One day she began running in circles, but when I checked my blood sugar it was normal. I thought she was just trying to get a treat. But 30 minutes later, my blood sugar spiked. She picked up on the change before the machine did!”

He leaned down to scratch her ears, “Savannah’s pretty amazing. She also loves riding on the back of my motorcycle every chance she gets. I’ve rigged a special harness for her. She definitely turns a lot of heads!”

Adorable Annie loves people of all ages. Whenever handler Kurt goes out, she likes to hitch a ride on his scooter.

Adorable Annie lloves people of all ages. Whenever handler Kurt goes out, she likes to hitch a ride on his scooter.

Annie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is handler Kurt Kauffman’s service dog as well as a therapy dog. She has traveled all over the country with him since 2006, visiting schools and hospitals. The joyful little dog loves to cuddle and hitch a ride on Kurt’s scooter.

Several of the dogs and handlers also volunteer regularly at the Loma Linda VA Hospital, and were very excited to ride sbX for the first time.

Labradoodle Elliot is a sweet little girl who became a therapy dog when she was just 11 months old. She loves playing with other dogs or chewing on a favorite toy.

Labradoodle Elliot became a therapy dog when she was just 11 months old. This sweet little girl loves cuddling with people, playing with other dogs or chewing on a favorite toy.

“This is fantastic,” said handler Carolyn Richie, who was on board with her Labradoodle Elliot. “It’s really comfortable, the air conditioning is great, and the layout is perfect. There’s a lot of room under the seats for a dog to stretch out. I think I’m going to start leaving my car at the Palm and Kendall park and ride and take sbX to the VA. It’s takes about as long to ride sbX as it does to drive, and this way I don’t have to worry about trying to find a parking spot. It also gives us a chance to meet new people!”

At the end of each quarter or semester, the therapy dogs visit CSUSB, Chaffey College and University of Redlands to help soothe faculty, students and staff during finals.

At the end of each quarter or semester, the therapy dogs visit CSUSB, Chaffey College and University of Redlands to help soothe faculty, students and staff during finals.

At the end of each quarter or semester, teams from Comfort Pets visit college campuses at CSUSB, Chaffey College and University of Redlands. Their P.A.W.S. (Pet Away Worries & Stress) event is designed to help soothe students, faculty & staff during finals.

Ginger looks into your eyes and understands what you say. She loves everyone, and will dance the Salsa, rollover and shake for a treat.

Ginger looks into your eyes and understands what you say. She loves everyone, and will dance the Salsa, rollover and shake for a treat.

According to Carlos Carrio, CSUSB’s Health and Wellness Coordinator, “Studies have shown it reduces blood pressure, reduces stress and it reduces cortisol levels.”

Wherever they go,  therapy dogs make people smile and feel good.

Wherever they go, therapy dogs make people smile and feel good.

“When you see your dog change a person’s life, it’s very rewarding,” said Linda Smith. “There’s a magic in these dogs that makes people laugh, relax and feel good. You can literally see the difference. It makes you a better person–happier and healthier. And it’s all free of charge!”

Siberian Husky Rusty was a rescue dog that chose Ron to be his new owner. His gentle, loving and and friendly nature makes him new friends wherever he goes.

Siberian Husky Rusty was a rescue dog that chose Ron to be his new owner. His gentle, loving and friendly nature makes him new friends wherever he goes.

For more photos of the therapy dogs on sbX, visit our Flickr album.

Want to meet the therapy dogs in person? Their next public appearance is on August 1st from 9-11 a.m., where they will be participants at a Teachers’ Breakfast event hosted by the Office Depot on Hospitality Lane. Enjoy prizes, special sales  and make some new furry friends!

You can learn more about Comfort Pets and how therapy dogs are making a difference in people’s lives, by visiting their website at www.comfort pets.org.

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Like this story? All of our stories may be freely shared and published.

Comfort Pets therapy teams

Comfort Pets therapy teams

 

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

What riders are saying about Omnitrans

“After buying a car, I realized that I would be saving roughly 60 dollars a month if I continued to take the bus to and from work. That means I’m saving 720 dollars a year. Oh yeah. I’ve come to enjoy my daily commute. Thanks Omnitrans!” – Ruben S.

“I love sbX because you have free wifi and we can charge our phones. That’s the coolest part. Keep the good job going.” – Moises F.

“I use Omnitrans for doctor appointments or just going to the movies. It is cheaper than running my car. You have always been there for me. I’ve used the bus service for over 25 years. Nice to relax and let Omni do the driving.” – Michelle E.

“It’s fast and there’s more room on the sbX bus. Especially when I go food shopping. I can find room for my basket and backpack that I fill with food once a month. I love the power outlets to charge cell phones. It makes riding the bus a lot less stressful.”  – Ronnie R.

“Friendly drivers, awesome experience, cheap way to get around when you don’t have a car. People are friendly. On the bus you make new friends with bus drivers and other people.  I love Omnitrans.” – Alicia S.

“I like Omnitrans because it gets me where I need to go, and I get a nap in on the way. It’s a blessing when you have no car.” –  Gorgoni J.

“Makes getting to work a snap and saves a ton on gas and insurance. Why have a car that you barely use when you can catch the bus, especially that awesome new SBX.” – Christian G.

“The Sbx is a great way to travel. It can literally be faster than driving a car due to the dedicated lanes. Not only am I saving some time, but I get to meet great people on the bus and reduce my eco footprint.” – Kimberly G.

“I love Omnitrans because I can go to CSUSB without the hassle of paying for parking, paying for gas, or looking for a parking space every time I have class. And the stop is right outside my house!!  I love it!!” – Cindy P.

 

E St. voted Best Urban Street Transformation

This month, San Bernardino’s E Street was voted “Best Urban Street Transformation of 2014” on StreestsBlog USA. It was one of five streets nominated in the national Streetsie award competition and garnered an overwhelming 48% of the vote.

There is a lot to be proud of: dedicated bus lanes, beautiful landscaping, and sbX BRT stations with original art whose themes share the rich histories of our local communities. Ongoing events like the weekly Downtown San Bernardino Farmshare and Market and the monthly Third Thursday Food Fest (located by the E Street Civic Center Station) feature local farmers, vendors and food trucks to attract the city’s lunch crowd.

E Street has not simply molded the landscape of our city. It has created a renewed sense of civic pride as evidenced by the grass roots efforts of residents who rallied the community to vote in a show of support.

This New Year’s Eve, we are proud to celebrate the transformation of E Street and look forward to continued positive changes in 2015.

 

Zimbabwean student talks transit & sbX

Hunts Station photo by Juno Kughler Carlson

Cal State student Simbarashe Peresch at the sbX Hunts Lane station

Grand Terrace resident Simbarashe Peresch has been riding Omnitrans and sbX since he first arrived here from Zimbabwe on September 17th. He is currently enrolled at Cal State University San Bernardino where he is majoring in biology. Thanks to the Go Smart program, Simbarashe is able to get unlimited bus rides using his student ID. We caught up with him at the Hunts Lane station and asked what he thought about the sbX rapid transit line.

He told us he liked how quickly sbX gets him to campus. He was also impressed by the roominess, air conditioning and onboard Wi-Fi.

“It’s very different from Zimbabwe,” Simbarashe explains with a broad smile. “where I come from, we have much smaller buses that only hold about 15 people.  And it costs only 50 cents to ride!”

“Also I’ve noticed here that there is not that much of a distinction between cities,” he continues. “You can pass from Redlands into Loma Linda without knowing it. In my country there are vast lands of field between cities that separate them. You know immediately when you are out of town.”

He points to the art glass on the station windscreen beside him. “The designs of stations here are very beautiful too,” he grins. “Traveling here has been a very different experience for me. I very much like riding sbX.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org