Tag Archives: bus riders community

Student rider enjoys savings and independence

Rider profile - Marcus

Marcus, Chaffey College Student

RIDER PROFILE:  Marcus is a part-time student taking classes at Chaffey College. He’s interested in pursuing a career in health, possibly as a nurse. He is bilingual, has strong math and science skills and enjoys helping people– qualities he knows will open a lot of opportunities for him in this growing field.

As with most college students, money is always a concern, and Marcus takes advantage of the Go Smart College Pass program, which allows him to ride the bus for free with his student I.D. “Traveling by car would be really expensive for me,” he said. “I attend school four days a week, and driving there and back costs me about $8.00 a day. It adds up to almost $130 a month–and that’s not even including the trips I take for leisure activities! I enjoy getting out a lot and usually ride an average of 50 miles a day.”

Chaffey College students ride Omnitrans free with their student I.D.

Although he owns a car, Marcus only uses it on the weekend to drive to his job at Costco in Orange County. He’s hoping to transfer soon to the Rancho location, and would like to use Omnitrans for the trip instead. “I like not having to drive. Driving is stressful, expensive and sometimes it can take 15 minutes just to find parking. I can enjoy the ride, listen to my music, or read and just relax,” said Marcus. “I’m also very active and like to travel. Before when I wanted to drive somewhere I had to worry about affording the gas or think about the wear and tear on the car. Now I have no limits. I have the freedom to do whatever I want to do, and I really like that. It’s also very easy to ride Omnitrans because it’s destination-based rather than street-based. You don’t need a lot of transfers.”

His advice to new riders: “It’s a good idea to prepare in advance to get an idea of what do and which stops you need. Go to the Omnitrans website and check out their videos on how to ride the bus. This way you’ll know what to expect. Look through the Bus Book to go over your route, and if you have any questions call the people at 1-800-9-OMNIBUS. They’re really terrific. And don’t be shy about asking your bus driver for help. The drivers are good about explaining things and will look out for new people to make sure they get where they need to go.”

If you are a college student and would like information on the Go Smart College Pass program, visit the Omnitrans website.

–Juno Kughler Carlson

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

How one mom used Omnitrans to change her life

Kathleen and her two children

When Kathleen Brink became disabled due to seizures 3 years ago, her world fell apart. Her doctor would no longer allow her to drive, she lost her job as a mortgage underwriter and she was in the middle of an ugly divorce and custody battle for her son and daughter, ages five and nine. She had no idea how she was going to get the kids back and forth to school or do the simple things she had always taken for granted like grocery shopping or running errands. One day she was sitting in the law office, crying and feeling completely helpless, when her lawyer pointed out that she did have another option. She could ride the bus.

Kathleen had never ridden a bus before. She’d had her own car since she was 16-years old, and the prospect of relying on public transit for everything she needed felt impossible and overwhelming. Still, she managed to push aside her anxiety to research the Omnitrans routes she needed and to work out a schedule.

“At first the kids were mortified to be going to school on a public bus,” laughed Kathleen. “This was a whole new experience for them. Now it’s like being a part of a little family. We know all the regular riders, and we all look out for each other. Paul, our driver, is a great guy and always watches after the kids. In a few more years my oldest starts high school and she’s really looking forward to taking the Omnitrans bus to school with her friends. It’s evidently the cool kid thing to do!”

Now Kathleen and her family take the bus and train wherever they need to go. There’s no car payment, no gas tank to fill, no insurance fees to worry about, and she likes not having to battle the traffic. Her life has changed in other ways as well.

“This was a lifestyle that was forced on me, but I decided early on to just embrace it and make it work,” said Kathleen. “During my first year of riding the bus, I lost 100 pounds. I was walking and getting out more and living healthier. It really made me see the world differently. I was never a big ‘green’ person before, but it actually felt good to know I had lessened my footprint on the earth. Now I’ve even taken it a step further and gone vegetarian!”

She added, “I love Omnitrans. Without you guys, I would have lost custody of my kids and would never have been able to maintain my independence. I’m healthier and more active than I was before. I‘ve also gotten to know our little group of regular riders and feel more connected to my community. You’ve made it possible for us to enjoy life in ways we never would have imagined.”

–Juno Kughler Carlson

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

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