Tag Archives: omnitrans rider profile

Levi Lane, Navy Vet & Omnitrans Rider

Levi Lane served in the Navy on the USS Kitty Hawk as a Culinary Specialist. He’s been an Omnitrans rider for more than a year, and rides the Route 2 to the Veteran’s Center in Loma Linda five days a week, where he attends self-help group meetings. “I’d prefer to drive,” he said frankly, “but I can’t right now. So I bike or take Omnitrans wherever I have to go. It’s good to have the bus to fall back on whenever you need it.”

Levis is looking forward to the new sbX BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) service which is scheduled to begin in early 2014. It will cut his travel time in half, and he believes it will help eliminate bus overcrowding for those traveling the regular fixed route as well. As a cyclist, he’s also excited that the new sbX BRT line has interior bike racks which will make it more convenient to board and disembark. “I can’t wait!” he laughs.

When we spoke to him at the bus stop, Levi talked about how proud he was of his service as a vet, and the opportunity it gave him to help others. It’s a legacy he continues to pay forward today. “Several years ago, I suffered from depression and went to get help,” he said. “I saw there was a big need for people who could offer support, so I stuck around and began volunteering as resource counselor for adults suffering from mental illness and addiction. Helping others actually helped my own depression.”

Bob Sudal, former Mental Health Clinic Supervisor for San Bernardino County, believed in Levi and helped make it possible for him to continue his work. “Bob passed away a few months ago,” said Levi emotionally. “I really miss him. He believed in me. He sent me to school for free to get certified as a family and peer advocate. He helped others too—I wasn’t the only one.”

In 2007, Levi was awarded Honorable Mention for his work as a family and peer advocate by the County of San Bernardino. He is proud to have made a difference in the lives of so many people.

– Juno Kughler Carlson

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Email Juno Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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Coupon Queen loves saving through Rideshare

While having a car is sometimes more convenient, the expenses involved in gas and upkeep are often overwhelming. As a result, it’s becoming more common for people to opt for public transit over expensive vehicle repairs when their cars have problems.

LaToia Jones, an eligibility worker for the County of San Bernardino, decided to let go of her old Ford Taurus when it broke down two years ago. She’s been ridesharing ever since, relying on a combination of riding the bus and carpooling with co-workers.

“I live out near Tyler Mall in Riverside, so I use both Riverside Transit and Omnitrans to get back and forth to work,” said LaToia. “I love Omnitrans because of the frequency. It generally runs every 15-30 minutes which makes it very easy to get where I need to go quickly.”

But it’s the savings that matters most to this county worker. “Driving the 91 was always ugly during rush hour and took forever,” said LaToia. “It used to cost me $80 to $100 a week in gas when I was driving. Now I pay that in a month. It’s a huge savings.”

Pinching pennies is a passion for this busy mom of two, who is always on the lookout for a great deal. “Couponing is a hobby with me, and I’ve gotten very good at finding free things online for my family and friends. Times are hard for everyone, so every little bit helps. I love saving money!”

Riding Omnitrans has not only been a boon to her budget, it’s also forged unexpected connections with regular passengers and coach operators along her route. One of the drivers shares her love of cooking and occasionally swaps recipes with her. “I told her I’d never had tamales before so she gave me the recipe to try. Once she even surprised me with a plate of cookies she’d baked for me,” LaToia said, smiling. “Things like that mean a lot.”

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 Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

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.