We caught up with Richard Curtis at a bus stop in front of the VA hospital in Loma Linda. He is an Omnitrans regular on Route 2. He rides the bus to his appointments at the Loma Linda VA hospital where he also volunteers as a 2nd Floor Concierge four days a week.
The tall quiet vet talked to us about the three tours he served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam where he was shot down three times. “I was a prisoner of war for about nine months in Cambodia, before I managed to escape. The guys that held us used drugs, and while they were high I managed to gain their confidence. I listened to them talk and learned how to speak Vietnamese. They wanted to just sit out the war and not have any problems. Basically if we didn’t give them problems, they wouldn’t give us any. I guess you could say I caught them slipping and took that opportunity to escape.
There were five of us, but we had to split up when they started looking for us. Three of us walked for three days until we were picked up by the Marines. The other two are still missing in action. Afterwards I was in bad shape. I was suffering from malaria and dysentery. I weighed like 119 pounds. I spent about 4 months in recuperation then flew back to Vietnam.”
“I come to the VA now because have problems with my vision. During the war, a rocket exploded in front of my chopper and it almost popped my eyes out. I was bleeding out my eyes and my nose. But the VA Hospital here gives outstanding care, and I come here often.”
Richard paused for a moment, nodding at a couple of the vets who were disembarking from the bus, then continued.
“To tell you the truth, I’d rather ride Omnitrans than ride a car. I really would. The drivers are always courteous and friendly on this route. There’s two buses that run the route back-to-back so it’s pretty efficient and I can always make my appointments on time. Sometimes I read, sometimes I shoot the bull with the other vets that are on the bus. I like Omnitrans.”
– Juno Kughler Carlson
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San Bernardino, CA–People climbed aboard Omnitrans buses in record numbers during October, with over 1.5 million trips tallied. Along with surpassing the previous top ridership month mark set in October 2001, the transit agency also set a new high for a single day on October 3 with over 68,000 boardings.The month began strong, boosted by promotional efforts tied to Southern California “Rideshare Week” (October 1 -5) which happened to coincide with spiking gasoline prices in California. Boardings jumped 17.5 percent in that first week compared to 2011. In the end October 2012 finished 9.4 percent ahead of last year.
“We offered a free ride coupon online for Rideshare Week, the same as we have done since 2009,” said Director of Marketing Wendy Williams. “But this year coupon redemption nearly tripled.”
Even after gasoline prices eased and the free ride promotion ended, passenger boardings have remained brisk. Omnitrans weekday ridership averaged 58,928 for the month. November seems to be keeping pace with over 65,000 passengers transported on the first day of the month.
“I believe our record ridership demonstrates that people are looking for economical and environmentally friendly transportation. When people try Omnitrans, they find out we offer great service—on time, friendly drivers, clean buses—and then they keep riding,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager Milo Victoria.
Route and schedule information is available online at www.omnitrans.org or by phone at 1-800-966-6428.
Top Five Ridership Months
||Fixed Route Ridership
October Ridership 2008-2012
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Rideshare Week is October 1st through 5th, and Omnitrans is celebrating with two great offers.
FREE Ride Coupon
Celebrate Rideshare Week with a free ride on us! Simply download and print the Free Ride coupon from our website. Turn it in to your bus driver who will exchange it for one FREE Day Pass good for unlimited rides for one day only on our fixed-route buses between October 1 and 5. Visit our website at www.omnitrans.org for more details.
Rideshare Prize Drawing
Passengers will want to take advantage of this exclusive offer just for our Facebook fans. Enter your name in our prize drawing between now and October 5th and you could be the winner of one of these fabulous prizes!
- 1st Prize – an Omnitrans baseball cap & pin and a 31-Day Bus Pass
- 2nd Prize – an Omnitrans baseball cap & pin and a 7-Day Bus Pass
- 3rd Prize – an Omnitrans baseball cap & pin and a free 1-Day Bus
Winners will be announced on Friday, October 5th. Join our Facebook community for photos, stories, behind-the-scenes info and other exclusive offers as they become available.