Monkeys

Monday, May 11, 2015 – 09:00 a.m.

Omnitrans, San Bernardino County’s transit authority, is trumpeting the first year of it’s $200,000,000-plus, sbX Bus Line.

A line with a route running from California State University – San Bernardino, through Downtown, and winding up in Loma Linda.

Omnitrans officials say the line shuttled 500,000 passengers in its first year. Future gains are expected in the coming years.

But those gains won’t come anywhere near making the project remotely close to self-sustainable. Costs will likely rise faster than any revenue increase from the noticeably scant ridership.

The creation of this brainchild falls on Omnitrans and the board of San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG). SANBAG, the county transportation planning agency, actually allocated the dough for this project.

The Sun newspaper ran a story about the triumphant 500,000 passenger hurdle. The article mainly contained a lot of the usual feel good fluff from local bureaucrats. But the story did have one candid comment that speaks volumes, not to mention exactly what most of us are thinking.

Here’s the comment:

“I drive through there, as many people do, every day,” said Renee Sharer, property manager for Hospitality Management LLC, referring to the Hospitality Lane area where the bus lane blocks people from crossing the street. “If you’re in that area, they all laugh: ‘How many people do you see on there?’ There’s some mornings I drive in, and there’s no one on the bus except the bus driver.”

It’s interesting and shameful that local officials blow this kind of money on a low-return project in a city that can’t even fill pot holes and fix broken street lights.

Amazingly, officials never admit they made any mistakes with this, and other failed local projects, that have cost more than $1 billion tax dollars.

By the way. The 500,000 rider figure? That’s less than 1,400 riders per day!