In a blending of his roles as School of Dentistry dean, Loma Linda City Council representative, and member of the Omnitrans Board, Ron Dailey, PhD, was on the dais in downtown San Bernardino Tuesday morning, April 22, to congratulate on behalf of the Omnitrans board, its chair, Alan Wapner, and the Omitrans CEO and general manager, Scott Graham, and his entire team on completion of San Bernardino Express (sbX), the Inland Empire’s first rapid transit line.
“We celebrate today the completion of a vision and the persistence of public servants who had a passion to more effectively address the transportation needs of citizens in the Inland Empire,” said Dailey of the 60-foot articulated buses that now negotiate a 15.7-mile corridor that connects Cal State San Bernardino, downtown San Bernardino, the many businesses of Hospitality Lane, Loma Linda University, and the Jerry Pettis Memorial Veterans Hospital.
A crowd of approximately 100, including Joseph Caruso, DDS’73 MS’75, MPH, associate dean, Strategic Initiatives and Faculty Practices, celebrated the opening of the $197 million bus line over the background noise of protesters expressing their concerns about a local refueling station for the 14 compressed natural gas busses that will run every 10 minutes during peak hours and at 15-minute intervals otherwise.
Noting that Loma Linda’s night-time population of approximately 23,000 “swells to about 60,000 during the day,” Dean Dailey recognized the “share of traffic bottlenecks entering and leaving Loma Linda in the mornings and evenings” that might be eased by “an affordable, comfortable, environmentally friendly and efficient transportation option that will enable our guests, veterans, patients, faculty, employees and students to get to their destinations with ease.”
The dean pointed out two additional benefits of the sbX line: “The Hunts Lane sbX station in San Bernardino is a very brief walk to the Faculty Dental Practice offices—a bonus for the School of Dentistry … And it will be a major benefit for our city’s citizens and guests to be able to board the sbX in Loma Linda and after a brief ride, arrive at the Transit Center in San Bernardino where they can board the Metrolink to Los Angeles—a gateway to the rest of the world.”
The 23 sheltered station and four park-and-ride facilities route is a first-of-its-kind project that transportation officials expect to replicate across San Bernardino County.
Warning to Inland Empire drivers: the fine for driving private vehicles in the new bus-only lanes is $341.