Public meetings on proposed changes to Omnitrans bus routes in the Inland Empire – including in Chino and Chino Hills – will be held this month.
The changes, which include route realignments, route eliminations and creation of new routes, are scheduled to go into effect Sept. 7. Omnitrans officials said the changes are designed to “maximize efficiency while minimizing impact to riders.”
A presentation on the changes that affect the Chino Valley was presented at Tuesday night’s Chino city council meeting by Jeremiah Bryant, director of strategic development for Omnitrans. Mr. Bryant said the changes were required because some routes with low ridereship were making them financially unsustainable.
Following the presentation, Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa said: “Having sat on the board of directors of Omnitrans, this has been a rather painful undertaking. There was really no choice but to cut service levels and cut the budget because Omnitrans was facing the very difficult reality of being completely upside down and possibly facing bankruptcy, which you can’t do.”
A meeting on routes that affect Chino will be 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 at the Chino Transit Center on Sixth Street, just north of Chino Avenue.
A meeting on Chino Hills routes will be 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Chino Hills City Hall, 14000 City Center Drive.
Proposed changes that affect Chino Valley bus routes are:
OmniGo Chino Hills Route 365, which provides local service to Chino and Chino Hills, would be eliminated. It currently includes stops at the California Institution for Men in Chino, Chaffey College Chino Campus, Chino Hills City Hall, Chino Hills High, Chino Hills Marketplace, Chino Transit Center, Fairfield Ranch Park, Prado Olympic Shooting Park and The Shoppes at Chino Hills.
Under the proposal, Route 365 would be replaced with Micro Transit, which is an on-demand shuttle bus or van service similar to Uber of Lyft that would be ADA accessible. It will be offered through a contractor, according to Nicole Ramos, Omnitrans’ interim director of marketing.
The Micro Transit program will serve all customers, including those with disabilities, weekdays only, 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Proposed fares are $5 per trip, with a day pass for fixed route service.
Omnitrans also plans to keep a modified “school tripper” in the 365 route area. The “tripper” is a morning and afternoon bus service for students at Chino Hills High, coordinated to the school’s bell schedule, including early dismissal days.
Route 81, a weekday route which serves Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga via Ontario Mills Mall and with a stop at the Chino Transit Center, would no longer serve Ontario Mills. Connection to that shopping center would be available via transfer to Omnitrans’ Route 61. The southern end of the route would change to the East Ontario Metrolink Station on Haven Avenue north of Mission Boulevard. The route would no longer continue south of Mission or along Riverside Drive/Central Avenue to the Chino Transit Center.
Route 83, which serves Upland and Chino via Euclid Avenue, would have its north side end at Foothill Boulevard in Upland. It currently ends at 19th Street in Upland. Bus service south of Foothill Boulevard would remain unchanged. This route currently has stops at Chaffey College Chino Campus, Chino Civic Center, Chaffey High, Colonies Crossroads Shopping Center on North Campus Avenue in Upland, the shopping center on Fourth Street in Ontario that was formerly home to a K-Mart, and the Ontario Civic Center.
Route 84, a direct north-south service on Mountain Avenue connecting Chino, Ontario and Upland, would have its service north of Arrow Highway in Upland removed. The route currently travels north on Mountain to 19th Street and then east to Campus Avenue in Upland. Service south of Arrow would remain unchanged. The route currently has stops at the Chino Transit Center, Chino Civic Center, Colony High in Ontario, Ontario High and Colonies Crossroads Shopping Center in Upland.
Omnitrans is also proposing to reduce the availability of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Access service in Chino Hills, south Ontario and Grand Terrace due to proposed fixed route changes there. Access ADA service is a curb-to-curb, shared ride paratransit service for individuals with disabilities that prevent them from using the regular bus service all or some of the time.
Among the proposals for ADA service is reducing the advance window for reserving bus service from seven days to three days.
Route 88, a weekday service on Ramona Avenue that connects Chino Hills, Chino and Montclair, will remain unchanged. It includes stops at the Chino Transit Center, Ayala High in Chino Hills, Don Lugo High in Chino, The Shoppes at Chino Hills, Chino City Hall, Montclair High, Montclair Plaza and Montclair Transit Center.
For a full list of the proposed changes, visit https://omnitrans.org/connectforward/.
The public may mail written comments about the changes through 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 to Omnitrans, 1700 West Fifth St., San Bernardino, CA. 92411 (make to the attention of the Strategic Development Department). Comments may also be made by phone by calling (909) 379-7150 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.