May 23, 2023 Minutes- Carrie Schindler, Deputy Executive Director, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority-Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Carrie Schindler, Deputy Executive Director, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority


Present: Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Bill Blankenship, Rebecca Boydston, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Chris Carrillo, Ken Coate, Otis Greer, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Cid Pinedo, Cat Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Dan Roberts, Michael Rivera, Dan Schenkel, Paul Shimoff, Lupe Valdez, Pete Van Helden, Ray Wolfe, Frank Zabaleta.

Guests: Marisa Yeager

  • Announcements: 1) A reminder that upcoming meetings include next week’s Executive Committee; an off-site meeting at the East Valley Water District’s Sterling Natural Resource Center (Rsvp to Sue Harrison is required); a meeting with Eric Ustation giving an update on the initiatives of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. 2) Members and guests will gather on June 14th at 4 pm to watch the Congressional baseball game. The event will be in The 909 at the Yaamava’ Resort and Casino. Free pizza will be served. Response to Sue Harrison is required.

Michael Rivera, 1st Vice Chair presiding.

Motion by Darcy McNaboe to approve minutes of May 16, 2023. M/S/P

Chair of the Day, Ray Wolfe introduced Carrie Schindler, Deputy Executive Director of the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA). Carrie has led the Authority on rail projects, including the recently commissioned Arrow, Redlands Rail Service. Her next effort will be centered on introducing the ZMU passenger train which will arrive in the US next month.

The last time Carrie spoke to Inland Action about the Redlands Passenger Rail Service was 5 years ago. The project has been decades in the making, and it is a huge accomplishment to have service underway. She also led Inland Action members on a tour of the Arrow facility at SBCTA headquarters.

Service is fully running and is enjoyable, clean and reliable. Currently there is an effort underway to increase ridership. COVID played a role in people’s choice of transportation mode. There is a need to break down perceived barriers to using Arrow service. People have questions that need to be answered:

  • Where am I going?
  • What are my options?
  • Where will I buy tickets ?
  • Is it safe?

There is a need for public education and that work is underway.

Maps are a good tool and can be found on the Metrolink website, which depicts the entire 540 mile system. Awareness needs to be raised about the shuttle to ONT, which is free with one’s train ticket. The service drops passengers off directly in front of both terminals. This shuttle is not the final service option, however. The Authority is still looking at a tunnel option, but it requires convincing Federal authorities. This project will be expensive and will require Fed and State funds.

There is also a shuttle that serves downtown San Bernardino. This is offered from the San Bernardino Transit Center, which is too far for passengers to walk to downtown, the courthouses, and beyond.

Timetables are extremely helpful. Becoming comfortable with the format can take a bit of time to but it is an excellent tool. Sometimes folks find the “last mile” connection to be challenging.

There are several options for purchasing tickets: on-line; on the Metrolink App, or by using the Kiosk on the platform. Electronic signs on platform let you know on which track your train will arrive. Once onboard, all people get their tickets checked. Conductors on the Arrow are customer service ambassadors and are happy to answer questions and to assist with finding the correct train for transfers. SB Transit Center is where transfers from Arrow to Metrolink occur. Plenty of time and easy to get to the track you need. Bikes are commonly seen on the train. There is room for 12 on the Arrow.

SBCTA partnered to build the downtown Redlands station. This station needed two platforms for two different trains: Arrow and Metrolink. This station’s parking structure was built with the City and Esri partnering, to serve even more than rail. People sometimes need to be guided to the correct platform for the Arrow service, as it is east of the platform for Metrolink adjacent to the structure. Tippecanoe Station is not much utilized. Long-term could be service to SBD.

Arrow daily rider numbers are about ½ of where they projected it to be. Currently the numbers are in the 400’s; the goal was originally in the 900’s. This emphasizes the need to educate people as to how to take advantage of the system, understanding the schedule makes a difference. As of March, 45,000 boardings. There is out-reaching to the Banning and Beaumont markets. Metrolink has a destination page, and they have been highlighting Redlands attractions.

Redlands Arrow cost $380M; Esri paid for their station and security, University of Redlands partnered in parking and built their own station structure. For comparison, adding a lane on I-10 is over $900M. Ridership on train is economically smart.

ZEMU is coming. The power pack is 6’ longer. It will be the first of its kind in the US and the Authority is already ordering another one. The economic impact of having electric powering without a catenary system, which is very expensive, is huge. The ZMU has been unveiled in Europe and will be delivered to the US in June. It will go to an Expo in Florida then to Pueblo, CO for testing for 9 to 11 months, then will be delivered to SBCTA. Minimal testing will be required here. Service will begin early 2025.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.