Category Archives: Rider Profile

Pizza anyone?

Earlier this week, Marice Penida and her family climbed on board Omnitrans with five boxes of Little Caesars pizza they were bringing home for dinner. Both the bus driver and passengers grinned and teased “You bought us all pizza!”

“We do have a lot of fun with our drivers and the regulars,” laughs Marice. “My husband and I got to talking about it afterwards. We decided that, if we ever win the lotto, we want to buy a huge stack of pizzas and hand them out to everyone on the route.”

We love the thought, Marice–as long as people remember there’s no eating on the bus! What impresses us even more is when you say you’ll still ride the bus if you win the lotto.

“We really are a green family,” she says seriously. “That won’t ever change. And we love riding Omnitrans.”

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Go Smart helps Khiem pursue his education

Khiem Pham has been an Omnitrans rider for three years. He is a student at Chaffey College where he studies computer science and Cisco networking. Khiem also runs his own Amway business in addition to working part-time as a waiter. He relies on the bus to take him wherever he needs to go.

As a Chaffey College student, Khiem is able to participate in the Go Smart Collage Pass program which allows him unlimited rides on any Omnitrans fixed route service with his student ID. He says the program saves him a huge amount of money each semester. Since he pays for his education entirely on his own, keeping to a tight budget is critical. Even if he gets a car eventually, Khiem says he will continue to use the bus as much as possible just to save on gas.

“I really appreciate Omnitrans–especially the Go Smart program. It helps a lot of students like me who struggle when the government keeps increasing tuition fees every year.”

About GoSmart
With the Go Smart program, students at participating colleges pay a $7.50 transportation fee as part of their college fees at the beginning of each semester. This allows them to ride any Omnitrans fixed route service for free with their student ID throughout the year.

Homeless newlyweds get fresh start with Omnitrans

Three years ago Corey and Maryrose Boggs were homeless and living on the streets in San Bernardino County. Omnitrans played a key role in their journey to self-sufficiency.

Corey was 19 and Maryrose was 18 when they met on the Internet and fell in love. However, there were major complications to overcome. Corey was living in Chicago and had recently lost his job. His plan was to find work and save up money for six months so the two could meet in person and get married. To Maryrose, that felt like an eternity. Unable to wait, she held a garage sale, sold most of her belongings and flew to Chicago to be with Corey.

Four days later, they got married at Corey’s uncle’s house church, Potter’s Field Ministries, in Bridgeview, IL. When they flew back to California, they faced less than ideal circumstances as they bounced from place to place, living briefly with relatives, staying at homeless  shelters, and working for a short time at a Christian-based farm for room and board. “”We even slept in a bush for a short time,”” laughed Corey. ””You can tell a woman really loves you when she’s willing to live with you in a bush!””

With little money and few resources, the two relied heavily on public transit to help them overcome their circumstances. “We used Omnitrans to do everything,” said Maryrose. “We rode the bus to get to the library to do job searches, to the Salvation Army so that we could shower and to the plasma center so we could donate plasma to get money for food and fares. For a while we even rode Omnitrans out to Crafton Hills College and used their library computers to take online college classes.”

At one point the couple posted an ad to Craig’s List, asking for a bus pass donation just so they could keep going. A good Samaritan responded, meeting them at an outlet, and buying both of them a 31-Day pass. It was an amazing and unexpected gift for the grateful pair. “The man told us he’d been through hard times himself,” said Corey. “And that he felt it was important that we all look out for one another.”

This October, Corey and Maryrose celebrate their third wedding anniversary. The two now live happily in a nice apartment in Illinois where Corey works in sales doing door-to-door marketing. He plans on going back to school and finishing his business degree. He offers two pieces of advice to others who find themselves out on the street.

“Don’t be an idiot and decide to do drugs. You need a straight mind to find a job and get out of your situation. There’s so many things you need to think about all the time. For instance you can’t shower just anywhere, and it’s a lot harder to get work if you’re dirty. You have to be able to find the resources you need to get help. Also, take advantage of public transportation in your area. Omnitrans was a huge lifesaver for us and opened the door to more opportunities. If you can, invest in a 31-Day Bus Pass. We did a lot of one day at a time passes, but it is so much cheaper if you can buy the longer passes. You will save a lot of money that way.””

“And have faith. Being together was always the most important thing for us,” added Maryrose. “We trusted in God and our love for each other.”

Corey agrees. “I can say with 100% certainty that our future is solid. When you’ve gone through living on the street together, you know there is nothing you can’t survive as a couple.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

“Infinite Love” symbolized Maryrose and Corey’s love and commitment to each other

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans rider dreams of teaching high risk kids

Almost eight years ago, Chanel Mason was diagnosed with a medical condition that made it impossible for her to drive. Since then she has relied on Omnitrans for all her travel needs, from picking up groceries to going to school. Riding the bus allows Chanel to maintain her independence and gives her the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of being a teacher.

“Education has always been important to me. When I was in 12th grade, I was scoring 100% on all my work. I went to my teacher because I was worried. How would I know if I was actually learning and improving? The teacher told me to just be happy that I scored 100%,” Chanel laughed. “I don’t think that way. I always want to be growing and learning new things.”

Her goal is to eventually teach first grade because she loves the curiosity and personality of that age group. “I really want to work with high risk kids,” said Chanel. “I grew up poor and I understand the kinds of challenges they have to deal with. I think I’m someone they could relate to and that I could make a difference in their lives.”

As a Cal State University of San Bernardino (CSUSB) student, finances are still an important issue for Chanel and she does what she can to stretch her resources. Over the past year she was able to take advantage of the Go Smart college pass program, which allows students at participating colleges to ride Omnitrans for free with their student ID. “Go Smart was a huge help,” said Chanel. “Instead of paying for bus fares, I was able to use that money for textbooks I needed. There are a lot of us at Cal State who really relied on that program and it’s going to be hard for us when it ends this month.”

The funding for the Go Smart program ends June 30th. Students at other participating colleges have opted to continue the program by voting yes on a referendum that would add a $7.50 transportation fee to their college fees each semester. CSUSB chose not to hold a student referendum at this time.

This week, Chanel was very excited to discover she was the winner of the Omnitrans Dump the Pump photo contest on Facebook. Her prize was a free 31-Day Bus Pass that she plans on using for school this fall. “Every little bit helps,” she said. “Without Omnitrans I would be in a lot of trouble.”

_______________________________________________

If you want to see the Go Smart program continue at CSUSB for the 2012-13 school year, please make your voice heard. Tell them why this program is important to you and other students.

Contacts:

Commuter Services
909-537-7433
Email: Rideshare@csusb.edu
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CSUSB

ASI Associated Students Inc.
909-537-5932 or 909-537-5930
Email: asi-pres@csusb.edu
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/asi.csusb

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Dump the Pump contest winner for June 13

Congratulation to Gabriel Arellano, winner of a 31-Day Bus Pass in our Dump the Pump photo contest this week. The 21-year-old works for the City of Montclair as a recreation leader, where he sets up for parties and community events. Most of his income goes to help his family, and he relies on public transit for all his travel.

“This will really help us a lot,” said Gabriel. “I’ve been using Omnitrans since 2008 when I graduated high school. I like riding the bus. I love meeting new people, and it gives me a chance to travel to different cities and explore places I normally wouldn’t get to see.”

In his free time, Gabriel enjoys drawing abstract art. His dream is to one day open an art gallery and clothing store.

Dump the Pump Photo Contest
Enter our photo contest on Facebook during the month of June for your chance to win a Free 31-Day Bus Pass. A new winner is announced every Monday.  Click here for details.

Couple pays it forward to bus drivers

Most of the time we hear from people if something has gone wrong. Husband and wife, Herman and Patricia Alderidge, make a point of telling us when things are going right.

Every week or so this, couple comes into the Omnitrans office with a list of coach operators who have gone above and beyond. “Omnitrans means everything to us,” said Herman, whose diabetes has left him confined to a wheelchair. “For three and a half years I never went anywhere–never left the house. I became depressed and it was very hard on both of us. We’ve been together since we were 15-years-old and for the first time I couldn’t go with her when she went out.”

Patricia finally convinced Herman to try traveling on the bus with her. At first he was nervous. It was hard being out in public again and feeling like he was at the mercy of his surroundings. But time with his wife was a huge incentive. Now he’s completely comfortable on the bus and likes getting out, meeting people and traveling to different destinations. The freedom and independence it gives him makes him feel like his old self again. And he and his wife can once more enjoy being out as couple, something they both treasure.

“The drivers have been so good to us,” said Patricia. “One of them recently recommended a car show that he thought we would like. We went that weekend and had a lot of fun together. He’s actually one of the names on our commendation list today.”

The couple has grown so fond of certain drivers that they go out of their way to catch their buses. A trip home that should only take 2 transfers turns into 4 so that they can see their favorite coach operators. They are very aware of how difficult the job can be and notice when the drivers have a smile and a kind word or go above and beyond with their passengers.

“They have to put up with a lot from people,” said Patricia. “And we want to make sure that they are recognized for the good they do.” She makes sure to write each coach operator’s name and good deed into the little notepad she keeps on her to make sure she remembers to commend them.

What about those drivers who might be feeling a bit grumpy one day? “Everybody has a bad day once in a while,” said Herman. “I keep a bag of lollipops on me. If I can’t get them to smile, that always does the trick!”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans CEO Milo Victoria thanks Patricia and
Herman Alderidge for their support of coach operators.

Bike and bus a winning combo

“Riding my bike and using the bus saves me a ridiculous amount of money in gas,” says Anthony Calles. A culinary arts student at Chaffey College in Chino, Anthony works in the dietary department at San Antonio Hospital. He would like to become a cook for the hospital and eventually go on to open his own restaurant. He hasn’t yet decided on his niche, although barbeque or grill style is among his favorites types of cuisine.

Anthony has been using Omnitrans to help him get to school and work for the past two years. He feels the combination of riding his bike and the bus gives him the best of both worlds. It means he is never stuck and has the flexibility to bike between stops. He can also take the bus for longer legs of his trip and use his bike for shorter jaunts–like grabbing food from a restaurant a few blocks away.

The biggest challenge he faces is that each bus only has two bike racks. If they’re full, he has to decide what he wants to do based on his time schedule. Sometimes it’s as simple as biking to the next stop to see if another bus has an opening. If he has the time, he might bike all the way to his destination. If he’s in a hurry, he can secure the bike for the day and hop the bus. He looks forward to the arrival of the new Omnitrans buses, which will be equipped with three-bike racks.

As a student, saving money is very important to Anthony. He is a huge fan of the Go Smart college pass program that gives him unlimited bus rides with his student ID. “During my first year riding the bus I was paying $35 for student bus fare every month. Now Chaffey students pay a $7.50 transportation fee every semester and can ride anywhere they need to go with just a student ID. It’s so worth it.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!
Email juno.carlson@omnitrans.org