Tag Archives: #sbx2014

Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter Don Frazier

omnitrans employee of the quarter don fraizier

Interim Director of Operations Diane Caldera, Employee of the Quarter Don Frazier, Board Chair Alan Wapner, and Director of HR Marjorie Ewing

On May 9th, Fleet Safety and Training Supervisor Don Frazier was named Omnitrans Employee of the Quarter for his dedication and invaluable contributions to success of the agency. His emphasis is always on the rider experience and on ensuring that our coach operators have the tools they need to be safe and successful. His knowledge, experience, professionalism, humor, friendly demeanor and willingness to always go the extra mile makes him an outstanding ambassador for Omnitrans and has earned the respect of his peers.

Don’s career in the transit industry has spanned more than 39 years and includes 24 years with LA Metro. His biggest challenge and one his proudest accomplishments has been his role in the launch of our new sbX BRT line.

Don frazier driving sbx

Don assisted with launch preparations for our sbX service by testing vehicle features and identifying potential problems along the corridor. He also served as the driver for our sbX safety video and VIP tours.

Don was responsible for training his team, as well as our field supervisors, maintenance crews and other key agency staff, on the operation of the articulated coaches. He personally developed an in-depth, hands-on training program for our sbX coach operators to ensure they had the skills necessary to safely and efficiently run the route. He also tested vehicle features and helped identify potential problems along the corridor. So much was new for us: longer coaches, rear fare validators, interior bike racks, rear-facing wheelchair securement, bus only lanes, center stations, level docking and traffic signal prioritizations. Thanks to Don’s program and his excellent 5-person training team, our operators were well prepared for launch of service.

Don and the training team frequently do free wheelchair strap installations for Omnitrans riders to ensure they can be safely and easily secured on the buses.

“It was a huge amount of work,” admits Don. “And it was definitely a team effort. I had to ask a lot of my training staff. Many times they had to give up a day off or come in at 3 or 4 in the morning just so we could cover everything that had to be done. Often we had multiple training sessions going on at once: student coach operator training, sbX coach operator training, route training classes, and coach operator instructor classes. It was a grind, but we got through it. They are an amazing group of people and none of this could have been done without their help.”

Omitrans fleet safety and training team

The training team: Charles Molloy, Verretta Johnson, Kimberly Perkins Don Frazier, Christina Diaz and Stephen McClure

One thing immediately evident to anyone who works with any of the training staff is their supportiveness and dedication to their students. That mentoring process means a lot to Don.

“Students tend to come in with that deer in the headlights look, feeling nervous and unsure of themselves,” Don smiles. “I always tell them, give us one year. You’ll see everything and experience everything and see if this is really for you. Recently a student from my very first training class here reminded me of that. She’s been here 12 years now. She told that she owes a lot of what she has to what she learned from me. That can’t help but make you feel good. You’re making a difference in other people’s lives, seeing them become happier and more confident.”

Trainer Christina Diaz congratulates Don after the award presentation.

Don believes a good work ethic and a positive attitude are critical for student coach operators.

“The toughest part of the job for me is when I have to tell a student they’re not cutting it. I want to help people be successful. If you are lacking in driving skills but are willing to learn and have a great attitude, I’ll even come in on the weekend and work with you to help you get this job. But if you don’t have the right mindset or the proper attitude coming in the door, then you simply won’t be a good fit. Not everyone is cut out to be a coach operator. It’s a tough job. You have to have good people skills and good driving skills. It’s a great job, but it’s also hard.”

Don is looking forward to adding a new resource to the training arsenal very soon. Thanks to a federal grant, Omnitrans will be getting an on-premises coach simulator tailored specifically to real life agency vehicles and routes. It’s something he has lobbied for over many years, and he is excited to see it about to become a reality.

Don and his wife Audrey enjoy a moment together on board sbX. The couple has been married for 42 years and have one son and one daughter. They regularly share their home with foreign exchange students and are looking forward to meeting two new students who will be joining them soon from Japan.

“This is the next wave of technology,” says Don. “It will bump our training up to a whole new level and save the agency a lot of money. Right now it costs $90 an hour to run a bus. Putting a student on a coach simulator doesn’t cost the agency anything. It’s an excellent defensive driving tool and will allow us to test the reaction times of student coach operators. The system can also be hooked up so that other students can observe the driver in the simulator as part of the learning experience. Normally this technology costs between $130,000 to $200,000, but we are getting it for $20,000—all of which is covered by a federal grant. It’s an incredible opportunity for us.”

Don and Audrey Frazier on the sbX Green Line

sbX rapid transit gearing up for week 2

omnitrans sbX passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Thanks to everyone who came out this week to try out the new sbX Green Line. We had a chance to chat with many of our Omnitrans regulars and had the opportunity to visit with a few new faces as well!

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

It’s been an exciting first week.  We are still working through some of the timing and technical issues that we had anticipated with launch of service. Everything is being monitored closely, and each day it’s getting a little better. Our coach operators have been doing their best to keep things rolling on schedule. We appreciate your understanding as we work out the kinks and get a little history under our belts.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Beginning Monday, sbX will begin accepting fares. The cost to ride is the same as for our regular Omnitrans routes, and the same passes will be accepted. Passengers now have the option of purchasing passes at one of the ticket vending machines conveniently located at any sbX station using a credit or debit card.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Our friendly sbX ambassadors will continue to be available for one more week to answer questions and guide you through the new service. Monday and Tuesday they will be at the stations during peak service hours (6:00-9:00 a.m.; 2:00-6:00 p.m. NB, 3:00-6:00 SB). On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday they will be on board the buses. They’ll be easy to spot—look for people wearing yellow safety vests and sbX ambassador pins.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you have the Omnitrans app on your phone? If you do, you can pull up our sbX page, bus book and NexTrip real-time bus arrival information. sbX is listed as route 202 in NexTrip. Please remember that NexTrip is a prediction based technology. By knowing where a bus is on the route, it can predict its time of arrival at the next stop. Because we only have a few days history with sbX, times may be slightly off for now. Accuracy will improve once we have another week’s worth of data to support it.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

As a reminder, we do offer free Wi-Fi on board. You can also take advantage of the power outlets above the seats to charge your smart devices. Interior bike racks are available for cyclists.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

Thanks to everyone who allowed us to take their photo. We’ve had a lot fun talking with you and getting your feedback on sbX. We look forward to serving you again on Inland Southern California’s first bus rapid transit service.

sbx passengers, photographer Juno Kughler Carlson

photos by Juno Kughler Carlson
juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Pep Rally Celebrates sbX Completion

New Omnitrans Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Service Launches April 28

sbX vehicle delivers riders to a pep rally celebrating the completion of the Omnitrans new bus rapid transit line.

sbX vehicle delivers riders to a pep rally celebrating the completion of the Omnitrans new bus rapid transit line.

With band playing, cheerleaders chanting, banners waving and over 200 people cheering, Omnitrans celebrated the completion of the sbX bus rapid transit line pep-rally style on April 22 in a ceremony adjacent to the line’s civic center station.   The new 16-mile BRT line begins passenger service on Monday, April 28, offering free rides through May 2nd.

sbX vehicle delivers riders to a pep rally celebrating the completion of the Omnitrans new bus rapid transit line.The sbX Green Line includes over five miles of dedicated lanes, 16 station locations, and four park-and-ride lots. It serves major activity centers in Loma Linda and San Bernardino including two hospitals, two universities, numerous trade schools, city and county government centers, and employment centers, along with major shopping, hospitality and entertainment venues.

FTA Region IX Administrator Leslie Rogers prepares to cut into a custom cake celebrating the completion of the sbX rapid transit line as local dignitaries look on. (From left, Loma Linda Councilmember Ronald Dailey, San Bernardino Councilmember Benito Barrios, event Emcee Lacey Kendall, Rogers, San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis, Omnitrans CEO Scott Graham.)

FTA Region IX Administrator Leslie Rogers prepares to cut into a custom cake celebrating the completion of the sbX rapid transit line as local dignitaries look on. (From left, Loma Linda Councilmember Ronald Dailey, San Bernardino Councilmember Benito Barrios, event Emcee Lacey Kendall, Rogers, San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis, Omnitrans CEO Scott Graham.)

“Transit is about more than just getting around: it maps a community’s priorities,” said Leslie Rogers, Regional Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, at the event. “It’s also a ladder of opportunity that connects people to jobs. In fact, just building this project put hundreds of local residents to work in the throes of the recession, and we’re especially proud of that fact.” Approximately 220 jobs were generated during construction.

The crowd joined the San Bernardino Cardinals Cheerleaders in the cheer "sbX 2014!"

The crowd joined the San Bernardino Cardinals Cheerleaders cheering “sbX 2014!”

The 14 articulated vehicles manufactured by New Flyer for the sbX line, are the first five-door, compressed natural gas (CNG) powered, 60-footers ever built.  Omnitrans CEO/General Manager Scott Graham noted, “the sbX coaches feature our first rear-facing, self-securement wheelchair positions, our first interior bike racks, and our first on board Wi-Fi and power outlets.”

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Graham also commended the corridor contractor, Griffith/Comet, for completing the project on time, within budget, and with a perfect safety record of no lost-time accidents in over 400,000 hours worked.

#sbx2014 Omnitrans CEO Scott Graham and San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis

Omnitrans CEO Scott Graham and San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis

The BRT line utilizes TSP (traffic signal prioritization), so sbX vehicles can advance through busy intersections. Dedicated station platforms offer real-time arrival displays, ticket vending machines, emergency telephones, customer call boxes and public art.  To enhance security, the multiple video cameras at each station are monitored 24/7.

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The Omnitrans sbX launch is the culmination of over 10 years of planning, design, construction and system testing.  Parsons Transportation Group helped initiate the project in 2004, taking it from alternatives analysis through final design.  Jacobs Engineering handled construction management and related activities.

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Project partners included Omnitrans, U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (FTA), San Bernardino Associated Governments, the City of San Bernardino and the City of Loma Linda. Of the total $191.7 million project budget, 96 percent came from federal, state and county funds designated for transit projects, including $75 million from the FTA Small Starts Program. The project includes three elements: vehicle purchase, corridor construction and vehicle maintenance facility upgrades.

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More Information available at:

#sbx2014