Press Releases

Press Releases

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

Hero Bus Driver Finds Safe Place For Runaway Teen

Drivers are crucial partners in finding lost and missing persons

A Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) coach operator is being praised for reuniting a runaway teen with her family --- another example of how bus drivers do more than move people from place to place.

It was evening when Ida Castillo stopped her Route 3 bus in Eastvale and welcomed aboard a young girl who said she needed a lift somewhere far away. The teen looked distressed and without a purse or bags, she wasn’t exactly prepared for travel. Knowing something wasn’t quite right, the driver talked to the girl and quickly learned that she had run away from home.

“Poor thing,” Ida said. “I’m a mother and grandmother and I didn’t like the idea of her wandering around out there in the dark all alone. I was reassuring to her, and offered her water and food out of my own lunch pail. All I could think about was keeping this girl safe.”

Thanks to Ida’s quick thinking, the girl remained safe on the bus until police arrived and were able to reunite the 12-year-old girl with her worried family.

RTA’s Chairman of the Board Art Welch applauded the driver for a job well done: “This was a team effort that resulted in a very positive outcome,” said Welch, who is also a member of the Banning City Council. “Ida Castillo was a crucial part of this effort, which tested her customer service, vigilance and attention to detail.”

Fact is, bus drivers do much more than just get people to their destinations. Over the past two years, RTA bus drivers have helped find more than 40 missing persons and nearly 100 teens in crisis.

With 4,000 runaways each year in Riverside County, RTA continues to partner with Riverside’s non-profit Operation SafeHouse, which helps runaway and homeless children. Each of RTA’s fixed-route vehicles displays a yellow “Safe Place” sign that enables children to get transportation to the shelter without question and free of charge. RTA has worked with Operation SafeHouse since 1997.

“The partnership between RTA and SafeHouse has been a godsend for teens living in this region,” said SafeHouse Director Fonda McGensy. “Bus drivers are on the front lines of our efforts to find these teens and get them to a safe place.”

As for bus drivers like Ida Castillo, it’s all part of the job.

“We pay a lot of attention to our customers and we’re always on the lookout for people in need,” she said. “A little humanity and concern can go a long way.”

UPDATED: RIVERSIDE, CA — June 29, 2018

Ida

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Rapidlink Rides Are Free This Summer

Express route serves 14 stops between Corona and UC Riverside

Come on and take a free ride!

The Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) is giving customers another reason to ride the bus this summer when
it offers free rides aboard RapidLink from July 1 through September 3. The express route provides weekday morning and afternoon service between Corona and UC Riverside along Magnolia and University avenues. The service departs every 15 minutes and is up to 30 percent faster than other buses along the same corridor.

Since it began last August, ridership aboard RapidLink has remained steady with roughly 2,500 riders a week and those numbers are expected to rise as more people learn about the route.

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Youth Ride The Bus For A Quarter All Summer Long

Students pay 25 cents to ride the bus from June 1 through September 3

Who says a quarter doesn’t buy much nowadays?

For the third year, the Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) is rolling out a special 25-cent fare for students who ride the bus between June 1 and September 3. That means anyone in grades 1-12 with a valid school ID can ride for a quarter to the movies, the beach, a friend’s house — anywhere RTA buses goes, anytime they operate.

RTA Chair Art Welch said the special rate is a great way for students to find a safe and affordable way around town during summer break. Plus, with comfortable seating, free Wi-Fi service and USB charging ports, RTA buses offer a world-class travel experience that is both safe and reliable, he said.

“We are thrilled to bring this program back for another year,” Welch said. “It has really gone a long way in changing young people’s perception about riding the bus.”

The quarter rides couldn’t come at a better time. Beginning June 18, RTA will make it easier to reach the beach thanks to expanded seasonal service on CommuterLink Route 202. The express route will provide additional weekday and weekend trips to the Oceanside Transit Center through September 3. Roundtrip cost is usually $6 but students ride for a quarter each way.

For years, RTA has provided discounts on youth bus passes, but this new approach to offering rides for a quarter has been a hit among young riders. In fact, when RTA launched the quarter-rides during the summer and winter breaks of 2016, youth ridership climbed by 44,000 boardings. RTA expects ridership to get another boost this summer thanks to the 25-cent fares.

Perhaps the program’s biggest benefit is the fact that students don’t need to worry about carrying or losing a bus pass. The cash discount provides immediate savings and instant access to all buses, including CommuterLink express buses which serve more distant destinations. Plus, rather than spending money on bus fare, students can have more cash in their pockets when they arrive.

Getting to and from the bus stop may require a short walk, skateboard or bike ride. And yes, students can take their bike, surfboard or boogie board on the bus. While a school ID is the preferred method of getting a 25-ride, bus drivers also accept RTA Youth ID cards, or California driver’s licenses or state IDs showing the rider is under 19 years old.

RIVERSIDE, CA — May 21, 2018

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RTA’s Fuel Program Is Bearing Fruit

Move to private fuel provider six years ago allowing Agency to invest in existing services

An RTA campaign launched nearly six years ago to save the Agency gas money is paying off.

The Fuel Task Force Committee --- which began in 2012 and spearheaded by former RTA Board member and San Jacinto City Councilman Andrew Kotyuk along with current Board members County Supervisor Marion Ashley, Jeff Comerchero and Ike Bootsma --- cleared the path for how business is done at RTA when it comes to buying natural gas; participating in state and federal fuel credit programs; and working with a private contractor to manage the whole operation.

One of the biggest accomplishments of the committee was the decision in 2013 to purchase gas from an alternative fuel source instead of the public utility, the Agency’s fuel provider since the early 1990s. The move to GHI Energy, a Houston-based business that purchases and sells energy-related credits and petroleum products, helped RTA save approximately $3 million over the past four and a half years. The savings amounts to roughly $600,000 annually saved for taxpayers in fuel costs, allowing the Agency to keep fares low and invest in existing services.

Last week, RTA’s Board of Directors approved a new three-year agreement with GHI Energy to continue managing the Agency’s fuel program. The agreement is expected to save the Agency even more money moving forward.

“The efforts we put forth six years ago are starting to bear fruit,” said RTA Chairman of the Board Art Welch. “Not only are we saving tax-payer dollars, we are also investing in a world-class public transportation system.”

This isn’t the first time RTA has pushed the boundaries of how it fuels its fleet. In 1988, prior to today’s laws that regulate bus emissions, RTA was among the first transit systems in the nation to operate low-emission methanol buses. In fact, when RTA’s Riverside headquarters was built in 1986, it included a separate fueling system for alternative clean fuels. The drive for cleaner fuel didn’t stop there. In 2001, the Agency took its biggest step by replacing its entire fleet of diesel buses with compressed natural gas buses. Today, RTA’s employs nearly 175 CNG vehicles, including buses, trolleys and company vehicles.

Last year, the Agency unveiled its first near-zero natural gas vehicle. The 40-foot bus is powered by an engine that has a 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions and 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, compared to RTA’s already clean-burning engines.

RTA officials say the partnership with GHI is a win-win situation.

“This innovative partnership is helping RTA save money and take advantage of plentiful supplies of natural gas,” Welch said. “It’s also part of a larger mission by RTA to better meet the needs of the customers and put a product on the streets that we can be proud of.”

 

RIVERSIDE, CA — March 5, 2018

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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RTA To Expand With Two New Routes, Enhanced Service

Service change affects more than 30 routes, begins this Sunday

Get ready for two new express routes and dozens of upgrades to bus service in Riverside County and beyond. That’s the message Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) is telling its customers as it prepares kick off a new wave of schedule and routing improvements this Sunday.

In all, the changes will target more than 30 bus routes, improving connections, reliability and on-time performance.

Perhaps the most significant improvement is the introduction of CommuterLink Route 200 with service connecting San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and the Disney resort in Anaheim. The route will operate roughly every 60 minutes on weekdays and every 60 minutes to 120 minutes on weekends.

RTA also plans to introduce CommuterLink Route 205 between Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Corona and the Village at Orange. The section of this route between Corona and the Village at Orange is expected to launch January 29, pending a public hearing and RTA Governing Board approval.

The new routes come during a busy time for RTA, which has upgraded its entire bus fleet with free, wireless Internet access and USB charging ports. Using their Wi-Fi enabled device, customers can now check their e-mail, get some work done, or surf the web from the comfort of their seats.

“When it comes to travel, we are challenging the automobile like never before,” said RTA Chairman of the Board Art Welch. “These changes will enhance connectivity and make travel more accessible and convenient for our customers.”

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Banning’s Art Welch To Lead RTA Board Of Directors In 2018

Welch was unanimously picked to become new chair for RTA’s 41st year

RIVERSIDE, CA — December 15, 2017 — The Riverside Transit Agency’s (RTA) Board of Directors has unanimously elected Banning City Councilman Art Welch to take leadership of the 22-member governing board.

As chair, Welch will be responsible for leading the RTA Board in setting policy, guiding Agency priorities, conducting the Agency’s monthly Board meetings and representing RTA during public events. He assumes the responsibilities held most recently by Hemet City Councilwoman and former Mayor Linda Krupa.

Welch has been a respected member of the Board for nearly five years and served as first vice chair in 2017.

“This is an especially exciting time for RTA,” Welch said, “and I look forward to working with the Board to build upon last year’s achievements and to develop new goals for this remarkable organization.”

Board members also voted Murrieta City Councilman Randon Lane as first vice chair and Perris City Councilmember Tonya Burke as second vice chair.

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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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