Omnitrans posted its first system-wide ridership gain in over three years when passenger boardings in January 2018 were 1.7% higher than January 2017. Growth was led by increased use of freeway express routes, up 14.2%, and the sbX bus rapid transit line, up 4.5%.
In all, 22 of Omnitrans’ 35 bus routes carried more passengers than a year ago. Bus routes operating in the western San Bernardino Valley posted gains which averaged 6.2%.
“We are pleased that Omnitrans’ efforts to attract new riders with express service, streamlined routes, improved regional connections, and mobile fares are beginning to pay off,” said Omnitrans Board Chair and Loma Linda Council Member Ron Dailey. “We hope the trend continues.”
In the past year, Omnitrans has added one new freeway express route, implemented 15-minute service to passenger terminals at Ontario International Airport, expanded operating hours on sbX and implemented a mobile fare payment option. In December, the Metrolink extension to serve the downtown San Bernardino Transit Center improved regional multi-modal connectivity. The transit hub serves over 5,000 passengers a day making connections on bus routes operated by Omnitrans, Victor Valley Transit Authority, Mountain Transit, Pass Transit, and Riverside Transit Agency.
Omnitrans freeway express routes include Route 215 connecting San Bernardino and Riverside via the 215 and 91 Freeways, Route 290, operating on the 10 Freeway with stops in San Bernardino, Colton, Ontario and Montclair, and Route 208 which connects Yucaipa, Redlands and San Bernardino via the 10 Freeway. Two additional round trips will be added to Route 208 in May.
The sbX bus rapid transit line now transports over 63,000 riders per month on average compared to under 42,000 monthly in the first year, 2014. Due to customer demand, Omnitrans expanded sbX service hours last September to operate from 5am to 11pm on weekdays.
Omnitrans total ridership in calendar year 2017 was 11,436,432, a decrease of 5% from 2016. January 2018 was the first positive month, as compared to the same month in the prior year, since June 2014. “It’s great to start off 2018 with positive numbers, reversing a three year trend experienced by Omnitrans and other transit agencies in our region and the nation,” explained spokesperson Wendy Williams.