Monthly Archives: August 2012

Omnitrans Field Supervisor Roberta Robertson

Omnitrans Field Supervisor Roberta Robertson

What does it take to be a good Field Supervisor? “You have to be a people person,” says Roberta Robertson. “You need to be able to assert authority in creative ways in order to diffuse tense situations.  And it’s important to listen–even if someone is chomping you out. Each individual is unique, and you need to be flexible and adapt to different personalities. You have to be that chameleon.”

Last October, Roberta joined Omnitrans as a field supervisor. Previously she worked part time for the City of Redlands Police Department in their community service division. Her full time job was working with probationary kids in a youth facility where she was a safety and security supervisor. She also has 15 years’ experience as a coach operator and drove buses for OCTA for 12 years. Her strength, she says, is conflict resolution and diffusing situations.

“The most challenging part of the job was coming here as an outside hire and trying to build relationships with the coach operators. It took a little time for them to see that I know my job, that I have high integrity, and that I listen to them and treat them fairly.  One of my roles is to counsel, but I also have to report things that could be a problem or safety issue. We’re all here for a common goal, to provide the best service we can to our customers.”

Mentoring is something Roberta understands well. She’s devoted much of her life to counseling young adults and encouraging them to reach for their dreams. She’s a volunteer in the “Midnight Hoops” basketball program at the Redlands Community Center which provides a supervised, safe haven for youth. “I grew up in the inner city, where there was a lot of gang activity. We lived in a low income neighborhood where people didn’t have any goals and never knew anything other than the street they grew up in.  As a kid I knew early on I wanted something different. I started playing sports and discovered I had a gift for basketball, averaging 30 points a game. It became my ticket out, allowing me to go to college. That’s part of the reason I like talking to kids. I tell them if I can do it, you can do it. But you do have to grab the opportunity when it presents itself.  If you’re motivated, a hard worker and have a desire to get things done there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.”

Roberta’s work ethic, self-discipline, versatility and personal rapport provide a strong foundation for her role as a Field Supervisor. The job requires wearing many hats, and often supervisors won’t know from one day to the next what their schedules will entail. They might have to investigate a customer complaint or commendation, serve papers, do a write up, handle a special task they are assigned or even drive a bus if the agency is short-handed. Often they are responding to calls, fixing fare boxes, or addressing customer service issues. Sometimes they are needed to set up detours due to construction. Approximately 7 hours of time each day is spent in the field. The safe operation of buses for both passenger and drivers is always a priority, and the bus agency wants customers to be happy with their experience so they will ride again.

“I’m out of my van more than I am in which is a little different for this culture,” says Roberta. “I don’t take complaints on the street—I guide them to our 800 number for that. But I do walk downtown a lot and talk to people. It’s a good way to build rapport with and get information from the riders who use our buses every day. It humanizes the bus service for them and earns their respect. It makes it easier to do my job. And if something goes down where I need help, they might remember me and have my back. I do the same with the operators. When I check in with a driver in the field, I always greet them with a smile and try to bring them a cold water. How you treat people has a domino effect. If you help them have a great day, that attitude spills over to everyone else they deal with.”

Ultimately, a Field Supervisor’s responsibility is to observe and report. Primarily their investigations are driven by complaints or commendations reported to the Omnitrans customer service line. A Field Supervisor may be assigned go into the field to watch what’s going on and take notes or asked to query video to verify the information received. Both complaints and commendations are investigated thoroughly to ensure their validity and to ensure they are connected to the correct driver. This can be difficult to do because often a customer doesn’t have the operator’s badge ID and coach number. They just have an area and approximate time frame, which takes longer to research. If performance standards are down, it is up to the Field Supervisor to figure out what’s happening.

“It’s hard when you know someone’s job is on the line,” says Roberta. “But it’s about being fair and adhering to the process.

The goal of the agency is to change the behavior through education and progressive discipline. Most of the time guidance and mentoring, along with classes designed to help improve customer service and driving skills, is enough to correct the problem.

“Operators have to understand the type of job they have. I was 21 when I started driving. I was such a little skinny chick, it used to scare people. Passengers would tease me and say ‘Are you sure you know how to drive this thing?’” Roberta laughs.  “It’s an immense obligation to know that you’re responsible for every person on that bus, for how well you’re driving and for how you talk to people. Anybody could be on that bus at any time. Once a mayor was on my bus and I didn’t know it. You don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize your reputation or the reputation of the company you work for.”

–Juno Kughler Carlson

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Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

sbX Business Profile: Daddy Joe’s Soul Food

As early as 9:30 a.m., the Rev. Robert Bolton can be seen in the kitchen of Daddy Joe’s Soul Food Take Out, preparing ribs, chicken, oxtails, greens, rice, baked beans and other southern cravings for the day’s lunch menu.

But that’s not all the Mentone resident does at his storefront restaurant at 1357 Kendall Drive in San Bernardino (a short walk from the future southbound sbX station under construction at Little Mountain Drive). He’s also a notary and an ordained minister who provides marriage counseling, often while he cooks.

“I’ve had a couple get married right here in the store,” Bolton said. “These days, you gotta do what you gotta do with the time and resources available.”

Bolton can’t wait until the Omnitrans bus rapid transit service is up and running. “If it helps my business, I’ll convert this place from a take-out to a sit-down restaurant,” he said.

Actually, the place is named after Bolton’s grandfather, Joseph Bolton, who took his grandchildren with him throughout Los Angeles as he built barbecue pits with bricks from the ground up. To test out the grills, Daddy Joe would teach them how to season meat, make the sauce and cook the food just right. The recipes to this day remain a family secret.

For $5.99 to $8, customers can get a half-portion lunch option, with a side dish and cornbread. They include rib combos, smothered pork steak with rice, hotlink sandwiches, Swai fish and shrimp. Daddy Joes also offers a diverse dinner menu, ranging in price from $7.99 to $13.99. It includes a full portion and two sides, such as potato salad, greens, string beans with potatoes, yams, and white rice with gravy. Bolton also serves up cakes, sweet potato pie and peach cobbler for dessert for $3-$3.50.

Daddy Joes is open 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-6 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday. Catering is available. For details, visit their website: www.daddyjoessoulfood.com or follow them on Facebook.

–David Rutherford

 

sbX Construction Alert for August 27th – August 21st

The sbX weekly construction update lists the places, dates, times and details of construction activity currently taking place in San Bernardino in preparation for the sbX bus rapid transit project.

Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue Park-and-Ride-Facility

  • Parameters: South of Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue intersection
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Work on park-and-ride facility continues.
  • LANE CLOSURE: NA

CSUSB

  • Parameters: New bus station location on campus
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Prep for roadway work of August 27th.
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect.

Marshall Blvd. Park-and-Ride Facility

  • Parameters: Northeast & northwest corners of E Street and Marshall Blvd.
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Prep for grading of parking facility
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect

E Street

  • Parameters: Select locations between 10th Street and Hospitality Lane
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Driveway, curb and gutter work continues, electrical activities, street light activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: Parking and lane nearest the curb along the east side of E Street between 10th Street and 6th Street has been eliminated. Traffic control in effect on east and west side of E Street throughout the corridor.

 Hospitality Lane

  • Parameters: Select locations between E Street and Tippecanoe Avenue
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Intermittent Day Work
  • Specifics: Median removal between Tippecanoe Avenue and east of East Carnegie Drive, driveway, curb and gutter work continues including sidewalk removals, storm drain activities, water meter relocations, electrical activities, street light activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: North side of Hospitality Lane nearest the curb is closed.

 Various Bus Station Locations

  • Parameters: Little Mountain Drive, Shandin Hills Drive, Marshall Boulevard, Highland Avenue, Baseline Street
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Platform structure activities such as rebar placement and concrete slab curing; storm drain activities.
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect at some locations.
To establish a safe work environment for crews and the public, the construction crew has implemented traffic control measures that allow for at least one lane in each direction to be open during construction. Maintaining access to businesses is a high priority as part of this project. As such, signage is placed throughout the corridor to inform the public that they are open for business.


About sbX

The sbX BRT Project is the first-of-its kind express service to be constructed in the Inland Empire. It is the beginning of an intermodal public transit system in the San Bernardino Valley that will help reduce vehicle congestion while providing the public an environmentally friendly alternative that is sophisticated, cost effective, and time efficient.

The 15.7-mile corridor spans between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda. It will include 16 art-inspired stations at key university, government, business, entertainment and medical centers as well as four park-and-ride facilities.

Visit the Omnitrans sbX Facebook page!
http://facebook.com/omnitrans.sbx

New weekday schedule for OmniGo Route 365

On Monday,  August 27  Omnitrans will begin  service to  Townsend Jr. High School  in Chino Hills. A new weekday schedule for OmniGo Route 365 will go into effect.

This is actually a  service change that is starting one week earlier than than was originally scheduled for September 4th. We are doing so to in order to accommodate the beginning of classes on Monday at the high school.

sbX Bus Rapid Transit Project Funding Facts

Omnitrans has launched a new information campaign for the sbX construction project. Look for these messages online and in local newspapers over the next few months. Local contributions, while needed and appreciated, make up only 4 percent of the project’s funding.

sbX Construction Update for August 20th-24th

The sbX weekly construction update lists the places, dates, times and details of construction activity currently taking place in San Bernardino in preparation for the sbX bus rapid transit project.

Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue Park-and-Ride-Facility

  • Parameters: South of Kendall Drive and Palm Avenue intersection
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Work on park-and-ride restroom continues.
  • LANE CLOSURE: NA

CSUSB

  • Parameters: New bus station location on campus
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: Prep for roadway work of August 27th.
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect.

Marshall Blvd. Park-and-Ride Facility

  • Parameters: Northeast & northwest corners of E Street and Marshall Blvd.
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Specifics: work on bus passenger platform continues
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect

E Street

  • Parameters: Select locations between 10th Street and Hospitality Lane
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Driveway, curb and gutter work continues, electrical activities, street light activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: Parking and lane nearest the curb along the east side of E Street between 10th Street and 6th Street has been eliminated. Traffic control in effect on east and west side of E Street throughout the corridor.

 Hospitality Lane

  • Parameters: Select locations between E Street and Tippecanoe Avenue
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Intermittent Day Work
  • Specifics: Driveway, curb and gutter work continues including sidewalk removals, storm drain activities,water meter relocation activities. (Please note that businesses affected by water meter relocation  activities will be contacted after at least 24 hours in advance.) Electrical activities, street light activities
  • LANE CLOSURE: North side of Hospitality Lane nearest the curb is closed.

 Various Bus Station Locations

  • Parameters: Little Mountain Drive, Shandin Hills Drive, Marshall Boulevard, Highland Avenue, Baseline Street
  • Day Work: Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
  • Night Work: Mon. – Fri. from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly
  • Specifics: Platform structure activities such as rebar placement and concrete slab curing; storm drain activities.
  • LANE CLOSURE: Traffic control in effect at some locations.
To establish a safe work environment for crews and the public, the construction crew has implemented traffic control measures that allow for at least one lane in each direction to be open during construction. Maintaining access to businesses is a high priority as part of this project. As such, signage is placed throughout the corridor to inform the public that they are open for business.


About sbX

The sbX BRT Project is the first-of-its kind express service to be constructed in the Inland Empire. It is the beginning of an intermodal public transit system in the San Bernardino Valley that will help reduce vehicle congestion while providing the public an environmentally friendly alternative that is sophisticated, cost effective, and time efficient.

The 15.7-mile corridor spans between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda. It will include 16 art-inspired stations at key university, government, business, entertainment and medical centers as well as four park-and-ride facilities.

Visit the Omnitrans sbX Facebook page!
http://facebook.com/omnitrans.sbx

Rider Alert: Route 2 detour due to construction

For the next 3-5 days, Route 2 Northbound will be detouring using Hospitality to Sunwest to E Street due to construction.