Thursday, March 20, 2014

Some Proposed Improvements in store for Omnitrans Bus Riders

While some of Omnitrans' proposals to restructure its bus routes are questionable and the reality remains that the agency is going to be flooded in dissenting comments towards its proposed fare increases, there are some good proposals planned. Here's a rundown of some of them:

East Valley

SbX BRT & Route 2 (San Bernardino to Loma Linda via E Street): sbX to start April 28. With the added BRT runs, the local Route 2 will operate every 30 minutes. Both routes will also replace the Route 7 segment between the CSU San Benardino hub and the University Heights area. Route 7 will begin at the transit hub at the university.

Route 5 (Northeast San Bernardino Local): Increase frequency to 30 minutes and reroute to Redlands Blvd via Waterman Ave. While the proposal to bypass Downtown San Bernardino is very questionable, the increased frequency is desirable. Elected officials should lead the way to reduce crime and expand marketplace smart growth along the Highland, Baseline, and downtown areas to ensure Omnitrans has continued funding while maintaining service to the downtown hub.

Route 22 (Colton to North Rialto): Minor streamlining of the southern turnaround loop at the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center transfer hub.

West Valley
 
Route 65, 68: Route 68 will be reduced to operate hourly but Route 65 will operate every 30 minutes. This will establish direct and productive 30 minute service frequency between these hubs:
  • Chino Transit Center
  • Montclair TransCenter
  • Chaffey College Transit Center.
The Route 65 southern branch south of the Chino Transit Center will also be reassigned to Route 68. However, the transfer connection at the central city area at Rancho Cucamonga is proposed to be bypassed. That should be considered to be maintained with the government office destinations there.

Route 81, 82: Reroute the eastern branch of Route 81 to Haven Avenue and the western branch of Route 82 to Milliken which would streamline the routes. Both routes will continue to connect at the Ontario Mills transfer hub and the direct routing will speed up trip times. In addition, the Route 81 realignment will bridge two hubs directly every hour on weekdays: Chino Transit Center with the Ontario Mills Mall transfer hub.

However, like the Route 65 proposal, the transfer hub at the central city area at Rancho Cucamonga will be gone and Route 82 falls short of connecting to the Chaffey College Transit Center hub. Once Omnitrans acquires the funding to do so, Route 82 should be extended north to connect at the college and the hub at the government offices in Rancho Cucamonga should be restored for both lines and Routes 65 and 66. Weekend service should also be planned later down the road for Route 81 as the economy grows in the area.

Route 83 (Upland to Chino): Streamline the southern section of the route through the College Park area. 

Proposed Route 63 Restructure
Route 63, 67, 80, 84: Sorry to put some more troubling news into the list...Omnitrans proposes to restructure Route 63 to serve Mountain Avenue directly with no direct connections to the Montclair TransCenter or the downtown Ontario Civic Center Transfer Station. Also, Routes 67 and 80 are proposed to no longer connect to the Montclair TransCenter. That breaks the following direct connections:
  • Euclid & Baseline transfer hub to Montclair TransCenter
  • Ontario Civic Center Transit Station to Montclair TransCenter
Conceptual Streamlined Hub-And-Spoke Routing

While the Route 63 streamlining is well-intentioned, the hub-and-spoke design should not be broken and service to the transit centers need to be maintained. A better idea would be to operate the direct service as proposed with branches connecting to the transit centers. Further down the road, Route 63 could be extended from the Euclid & Baseline transfer hub east to the Chaffey College Transit Center via the Alta Loma area.

Route 67: As mentioned, Route 67 will be rerouted to no longer serve Montclair, but it will connect to the Chaffey College Transit Center. A timed connection with Route 65 will ensure continued seamless connections to the Montclair TransCenter.

Last but not least, Route 215 (Riverside Downtown Terminal to Downtown San Bernardino Express): Increase weekend frequency to 30 minutes. This is certainly desirable.

Tomorrow, we will cover the long-range proposals. When one connects the dots, this will bring a new pool of riders to the sbX BRT. For those still wondering whether or not the E-Street BRT line will have riders, there's good news to predict.

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