Sbx Bus

An Omnitrans sbX bus travels north along E Street in San Bernardino. Rick Sforza — Staff Photographer

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 05/09/15 – 12:02 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> More than half a million people rode the sbX rapid-transit bus line in its first year of service, according to Omnitrans — and they expect the next year, which just began, to boost that number significantly.

“We expect sbX ridership to grow by another 30 percent by next year, mostly due to the opening of the San Bernardino Transit Center in September,” said Omnitrans spokeswoman Wendy Williams.

That transit center, located on the southwest corner of Rialto and E Streets, is intended to allow passengers to easily transfer among the different services that will meet there — 13 local Omnitrans buses, the sbX Bus Rapid Transit service, Victor Valley Transit Authority buses, Mountain Area Rapid Transit Authority buses and Metrolink trains — and easily travel without needing a car.

The transit center broke ground in February of last year.

A few months later, the 16-mile bus line from Cal State San Bernardino to Loma Linda University began operations. The first week, when riding was free, drew 3,032 riders — the most a single week has yet gotten.

But since paid ridership began the first week of May, averaging 1,327 riders per day, most weeks have improved on the ridership total from the last, with average daily ridership now at 2,375, according to Omnitrans. That’s an increase of 79 percent.

Still, the perception persists that no one rides the bus.

“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.”

In return, Sharer says, the bus line has hurt local businesses.

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