Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/23/2013 08:34:25 PM PDT

View: System Map | Rt-61 Corridor Map

A rapid-transit bus system is being prepared by Inland Empire cities.

The first of 10 Omnitrans’ bus rapid transit, or BRT, systems, is in what is known as the E Street Corridor in the San Bernardino area. It is set to be completed within a year and will allow bus riders to travel north and south from Cal State San Bernardino to Loma Linda University.

Dubbed SBX, which stands for San Bernardino Express, buses will have designated stops and the ability to change stoplights to green for speedier travel through. In some cities, designated lanes have been envisioned for bus travel.

Still in the first planning phase, Omnitrans — the public bus agency for an area extending from Chino Hills on the west to Yucaipa on the east — has been able to secure a $850,000 Federal Transit Administration grant to conduct a route and mode-of-transit analysis for the Holt Blvd./Fourth Street Corridor.

This route will run from Fontana, near Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, through Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Montclair and end at the Transcenter in Pomona.

“We recognize this as a different type of premium transit opportunity for people not only visiting relatives in different communities, but also living in a community and working in another,” said Matt Pilarz, acting city engineer “It’s just a faster way for people to use transit other than their car and give them something competitive if they are using a car.”

Construction for the rapid-transit bus corridors is dependent on funding, and Omnitrans officials hope SBX’s potential success will help bring in money for the rest of the system.

“We would have to go through the same process we did with the current project to get the project grant agreement with the federal government to begin work on the next corridor,” said Omnitrans spokesman David Rutherford. “Our plan now is to go forward with the Holt Boulevard project because that’s the one we’ve received funding for.”

All corridor projects start at this first phase, formally called the alternative analysis phase. Next is an environmental phase followed by a design phase.

When those are complete, Rutherford said, Omnitrans would submit a full plan to the FTA, which could then issue a full grant agreement, and “that’s when the construction would begin.”
Omnitrans first rapid-bus system is slated to be completed within a year from San Bernardino to Loma Linda. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer)

Local cities, however, are not waiting around for the project’s dirt to move. They’ve already started planning.

To read entire story, click here.