Press Releases

Press Releases

Get a glimpse of what’s making news at RTA.

Hero Driver Rescues Child From Busy Street

Claudia Mendez applauded for compassion and customer service

A Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) coach operator is being praised for helping a young mother who was having a seizure at a bus stop and caring for her daughter until help arrived — an event that shows bus drivers do great work even when they are not behind the wheel.

Early morning on November 13, Claudia Mendez was driving her Route 27 bus along Highway 74 near Hemet. As she approached what she thought was a vacant stop, she noticed a woman on the ground having a seizure. Next to the woman was a toddler who was in danger of wandering onto the busy road.

“It was a very dangerous situation,” Claudia said. “The child was two or three years old and she looked scared. I just didn’t want to leave that child unattended and near that road.”

Without hesitation, Claudia stopped her bus, exited the front doors and rushed to the scene. After assisting the woman, Claudia brought the little girl onto the bus and called dispatch to request an ambulance. Later, when paramedics arrived and the child was safely reunited with her mother, Claudia went back to being a bus driver and continued on her route.

“Once paramedics showed up and did their part I felt a whole lot better,” Claudia said. “I just went back to work.”

Claudia’s courageous actions didn’t go unnoticed. Next month, RTA’s Board of Directors will present Claudia with a hero award for her actions that day.

RTA Chairman Art Welch applauded Claudia for a job well done, adding that the incident tested her training, vigilance and attention to detail.

“Claudia’s heroic actions represent an extraordinary commitment to customer service, amazing courage, and uncompromising compassion to help those in need,” Welch said. “This was a team effort that had a very happy ending.”

Such actions aren’t unusual for RTA bus drivers. In fact, drivers do much more than just move people from place to place. Sometimes they help police find and assist people in need. Sometimes those people are senior citizens with dementia. Sometimes they are teenage runaways. Often, drivers like Claudia are guardians on the streets, helping people in need in a spectrum of different ways.

Claudia doesn’t think of herself as a hero.

“This isn’t about being a hero,” she said. “It’s all about caring for other people and being kind to others, even if they are complete strangers. I was just happy to be in the right place at the right time.”

RIVERSIDE, CA — November 28, 2018

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Public Invited To Stuff An Rta Bus For Area Youth

The November 15 event can fill buses with enough donations to last a year

This week, members of the public can help a child in need by stuffing a bus with donations.

The Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) and Operation SafeHouse are teaming up once again for the annual “Stuff the Bus” event this Thursday, which aims to pack two 40-foot buses with donated food, linens, toiletries and other items for area youth in crisis.

Now in its 11th year, the event will take place at several locations across the region from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Donations will be accepted aboard RTA buses at the County Administration Center, 4080 Lemon St. (1 p.m.), Riverside City Hall, 3900 Main St. (2 p.m.), Riverside Metro Auto Group, 8330 Indiana Avenue (3 p.m.), and Riverside Target, 3520 Tyler St. (3:30 - 7 p.m.).

The donated items are distributed to SafeHouse’s emergency shelters and transitional living programs in Riverside and Thousand Palms. Last year’s event produced more than 10,000 donated items, ranging from brooms and brushes to dish soap and shaving cream.

“We are so proud to be part of an effort that gives children the tools they need to improve and enrich their lives,” said RTA Chairman Art Welch. “Everyone is invited to make a contribution, no matter how small, to this very worthy cause.”

SafeHouse Director Fonda McGensy said the donations typically keep inventory shelves stocked for an entire year, benefitting dozens of children. Plus, McGensy added, the bus is a convenient drop-off point. People don’t need to carry donations into a building; they simply drive by and drop off the donations at the bus.

“It’s such a simple way to make a big difference in a child’s life,” McGensy said. “It’s always great to see the community pull together to help area youth. We expect a big turnout this year.”

For information about SafeHouse and Stuff the Bus, please contact Fonda McGensy at (951) 858-3701.

 RIVERSIDE, CA — November 12, 2018

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Driver Gets Fourth Victory At Annual Roadeo

Kyle Jones will represent RTA at international contest


Kyle Jones is RTA’s top cowboy for the fourth time in five years.

The coach operator’s driving skills earned him another victory at Riverside Transit Agency’s (RTA) 2018 Bus Roadeo on October 20 at the Agency’s Hemet facility. The win gave Jones his fourth crown in five years and a chance to represent the Agency at regional and international contests.

Kyle has worked with RTA for 13 years and currently drives routes 1, 19 and CommuterLink Express Route 205. He will represent RTA at the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) International Bus Roadeo next spring in Louisville, Kentucky.

Winning is nothing new to Jones. Two years ago, he took a first-place victory at the APTA International Bus Roadeo, competing against drivers from transit agencies across the United States and Canada and giving RTA its first international victory in 40 years.

During the recent event, Jones and other drivers steered their 30,000-pound, 40-foot machines through a timed serpentine obstacle course of cones, sharp turns and challenging back-ups. Judges observed the performance of each bus operator and noted how well they completed each element on the course.

“This is an especially sweet victory for me,” Jones said. “I wasn’t able to compete last year and I was hungry to get out there and turn things around. This one felt great.”

So why has Jones won so many times?

“It just brings out the competitor in me,” he said. “We all work so hard to be good drivers on the streets and provide excellent customer service, so it’s always nice to put all those things together and show off our skills.”

In the Coach Operator Division, Alaric Hayes and Fred Allen took second and third place, respectively. In the Maintenance Division, Jonathan Arevalo took first place while Moe Zaman and Porfirio Lewis were second- and third-place winners, respectively. In the Administration Division, Nataly Ambriz took first place. The contest also featured several RTA Board members, the fastest of which was Tom Ketcham, who represents the County of Riverside, District I.

“Driving a 40-foot bus is a lot harder than it looks,” said RTA Chairman Art Welch. “It’s amazing to see how well drivers like Kyle can handle challenges on the road while maintaining customer safety and excellent service. We wish Kyle the best of luck as he represents RTA at the highly competitive, international level.”

RTA Rodeo 18 412

Kyle Jones, RTA’s top cowboy, will represent RTA at the international contest.

RIVERSIDE, CA — October 25, 2018

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Banning Senior Takes Milestone Trip Aboard RTA Bus

Joe Cantella takes 500,000th trip of popular travel training program

After a day at Disneyland, there was a still a little bit of magic left in the air for Joe Cantella as he made his way home aboard a Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) bus to Banning.

After making a transfer in Riverside on his way back from Disneyland, the Banning resident and his wife Charlotte Crider arrived at their final destination and became instant celebrities. That’s because Joe had just taken the 500,000th bus ride as part of RTA’s travel training program, which for the past seven years has helped veterans, seniors and disabled customers learn to ride the bus.

“I enjoyed riding the bus because I didn’t have to drive my car” said Cantella as he held a sign that said “500,000th Travel Training Trip” and clutched a bouquet of yellow, white and blue balloons.

To celebrate the milestone, RTA officials surprised Joe at the Beaumont Walmart bus stop on October 18, handing him prizes, commuter goodies, and a round of applause for riding the bus. The event came as a pleasant surprise to Joe who had just taken his first ride aboard an RTA bus as part of a training program designed to give him the confidence he needs to ride the bus independently.

“This is one of the happiest days of my life,” said Joe who was greeted by RTA’s Chairman of the Board Art Welch and Beaumont City Council Member and RTA Board Member Nancy Carroll.

His trip that day was remarkably easy. Earlier that day, he and his wife Charlotte and nine other trainees boarded Pass Transit Route 120 in Beaumont and transferred to RTA’s Route 200 in San Bernardino. From there, it was a straight shot in the carpool lanes to Disneyland. Along the way, Joe and Charlotte learned to pay their fare, read maps and schedules, and access the bus’ free Wi-Fi and USB charging ports.

The federally funded travel training program is steering a growing number of customers like Joe away from costly Dial-A-Ride service. The training is a free, self-paced process where an individual, regardless of ability or age, can learn to ride RTA’s fixed-route system. Since its inception in 2011, the Travel Training Program has served nearly 2,000 seniors, veterans and customers with disabilities, resulting in 500,000 trips on fixed-route buses.

RTA Chairman Welch said the event was significant milestone in a program that is giving people a strong sense of freedom.

“This program has really exceeded our expectations,” he said. “Not only it is changing the way people think of public transit, it’s giving hundreds of people the confidence they need to travel without limits.”

RTA Travel Training 500K Trip

Left to right: Beaumont City Council Member and RTA Board Member Nancy Carroll, Charlotte Cride, Joe Cantella and RTA’s Chairman of the Board Art Welch.

RIVERSIDE, CA — October 22, 2018

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RTA Is Giving Away Tickets To Disneyland

Ride the bus and win Disneyland tickets and 30-Day bus passes

Want a lift to the Happiest Place on Earth? Not only will RTA take you there on our CommuterLink Express Route 200, we’ll also give you free tickets to the park!

From today through December 16, anyone who rides any RTA bus (excluding Dial-A-Ride) and tells us about their experience at RiversideTransit.com automatically qualifies for a chance to win tickets to Disneyland and 30-Day bus passes good on all bus routes, including CommuterLink express routes. The top winner gets four Disneyland tickets and four 30-Day bus passes. Another lucky contestant will get two Disneyland tickets and two 30-Day bus passes. The winners will be announced December 17.

“This is a great incentive for people to try public transit,” said Chairman Art Welch. “Whether it’s a trip to school, to work, or to Disneyland, RTA is working hard to satisfy our long-time customers and encourage other people to give us a try — even if it’s just once.”

The promotion is part of RTA’s enhanced service to Disneyland that has resulted in expanded trips to the park aboard Route 200, which operates seven days a week, connecting San Bernardino and Riverside with Orange and Anaheim with a final stop at Disneyland. Last month, RTA added an additional afternoon Route 200 trip from the park to keep up with the demand from customers, many of whom are headed to the park either as visitors or employees.

Of course, customers don’t need to ride the Route 200 to enter the contest. Any of our fixed-route and express buses qualify. The contest is open to anyone at least 18 years old, and there’s a limit of one entry per person during the entire promotion.

ENTER TO WIN HERE

RIVERSIDE, CA — October 8, 2018

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RTA Expanded Weekend Service To More Routes

Service change affected more than 40 routes on September 9

If you ride the bus, your weekends got better. That’s the message Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) is telling its customers as it kicked off a new wave of schedule and routing improvements.

On September 9, RTA made several schedule and route changes to boost performance, enhance connections and expand service into new areas. In all, the changes targeted more than 40 bus routes.

Perhaps the most significant improvement is the addition of weekend service on routes 30, 31, 33, 42, 61, 74 and 79, which serve the cities of Banning, Beaumont, Hemet, Menifee, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Perris, San Jacinto and Temecula. Because of the changes, roughly two-thirds of RTA’s 46 routes perate seven days a week, giving customers more freedom than ever to travel to their favorite weekend destinations.

“Our customers don’t slow down on weekends so neither should their bus service,” said RTA Chairman of the Board Art Welch. “Having more buses on the streets seven days a week is a game changer in the way people get around.”

As part of the service change, RTA also introduced new hours of operation on one of its newest routes, RapidLink Gold Line. To better match customer demand, the hours of operation were adjusted by one hour, beginning mornings from 6:30 a.m. (instead of the current 5:30 a.m.) to 8:30 a.m. and afternoons from 1:30 p.m. (instead of the current 2:30 p.m.) to 5:30 p.m.

Other highlights include the extension of Route 61 from Menifee to Perris and the addition of an afternoon trip from Disneyland aboard the popular Route 200. Also, Route 22, one of RTA’s longest routes stretching from Lake Elsinore to Perris to Riverside, was divided into two separate routes to boost efficiency. RTA will maintain Route 22 service between Perris and Riverside, while the section from Lake Elsinore to Perris along Highway 74 became the new Route 9.

Other RTA routes that underwent schedule and/or routing changes include the 1, 3, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 19F, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 41, 42, 49, 51, 55, 61, 74, 79 and CommuterLink express routes 202, 204, 206, 208, 210 and 212.

More information on the changes can be found in the new Ride Guide and Service Change Guide available on buses and online at RiversideTransit.com.

 

DOWNLOAD SERVICE CHANGE GUIDE | RIDE GUIDE | SYSTEM MAP

 

RIVERSIDE, CA — September 9, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bradley Weaver
Telephone: (951) 565-5172
Cell Phone: (951) 313-0943
Email: [email protected]

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Riverside Transit Agency

Riverside Offices
1825 Third Street
P.O. Box 59968
Riverside, CA 92517-1968
(951) 565-5000
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Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Closed Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays.

Customer Information Center
(951) 565-5002
Hours of Operation: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends.

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