I’ve never written a case study THIS detailed

I’ll admit that the case studies that I’ve produced, either under the Bredemarket name or under other names, have been relatively short in the two-page range. This is why I usually recommmend the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service for clients who want my case study services.

But there’s no law that says that a case study has to be that short. If you want to create a 1,000 page case study, you’re certainly entitled to do so.

But what about a 17 page case study?

That’s the length of the case study that greenlining.org prepared on a program here in the City of Ontario.

Greenlining.org explains what the case study covers:

Since 2007, a coalition of residents, community-based organizations and the City of Ontario have been working together under the Healthy Ontario Initiative (HOI) to improve health outcomes and quality-of-life. HOI came together to address community health and build safe and vibrant neighborhoods, against a backdrop of high levels of poverty and chronic disease burdens. 

From https://greenlining.org/publications/2021/building-community-collaboration-tcc-case-study/

At 17 pages, the case study goes into a great deal of detail on a variety of initiatives, including Healthy Ontario and the Vista Verde Apartments near Holt and Grove. The apartment complex and other projects all fit within the goals of improving “health outcomes and quality-of-life.”

Read the case study for yourself (PDF).

Testing my sixth authentication factor on Omnitrans bus passes

I know that Bredemarket has pivoted away from full-time identity work in favor of part-time work with local businesses in Ontario, Eastvale, and other cities, but a recent local activity illustrated a possible identity issue that I’d like to explore here. So allow me this tangent; I’ll get back to my Ontario, California content marketing expert content later.

Identities and bus passes

Remember my trip to Eastvale yesterday? I had to use a bus to get there. And to do this, I bought a day pass.

Omnitrans Day Pass, July 23, 2022.

Now this is not the most robust proof of identity. As I recently noted in my JEBredCal blog (one of my other Google identities), it’s extremely easy for multiple people to use this day pass at different times during the day. Even the 7-day and 31-day passes, which must be signed and may be compared against an identity document, are not necessarily free from fraud.

However, this is not critical to Omnitrans, who would rather put up with a small amount of fraud than inconvenience its riders with multiple identity checks.

Identity proofing is more critical in some situations than it is in others.

From https://jebredcal.wordpress.com/2022/07/24/how-important-is-that-identity/.

Of course, if Omnitrans really wanted to, it could achieve the need for fraud prevention by using relatively frictionless forms of identity proofing. Rather than demaning to see a rider’s papers, Omnitrans could use passive methods to authenticate its riders. I won’t go into all the possible methods and their pros and cons here.

However, I would like to explore one possible identity proofing method to see if it would solve the Omnitrans pass use issue.

Returning to my sixth authentication factor

Can my self-proclaimed sixth factor of authentication provide a solution?

You’ll recall that many identity experts recognize five factors of authentication:

  • Something you know.
  • Something you are.
  • Something you have.
  • Something you do.
  • Somewhere you are.

Well, because I felt like it, I proclaimed a sixth factor of authentication.

  • Why?

I said, because I felt like it!

Whoops, “why?” is the sixth authentication factor. I still haven’t rendered it into the “somexxx you xxx” format yet.

Can Omnitrans use the “why?” factor to test the reasonableness that any particular trip is performed by the person who originally bought the pass?

Possibly.

Applying the “why?” question to bus boarding data

Assume the most challenging scenario, in which Omnitrans knows nothing about the person who purchases a 31-day pass. The person pays in cash and is wearing a face mask and sunglasses throughout the entire transaction. Therefore, the only identity information associated with the pass is the location where the pass was purchased, the date/time it was purchased, and some type of pass identification number. For this example, we’ll assume the pass number is 12345.

So Omnitrans really doesn’t know anything of importance about the holder of pass 12345…

…other than how it is used.

I’m making the assumption that Omnitrans logs information about every use of a pass. Since you don’t need to use your pass when you leave the bus, the only information available is when you board the bus.

So let’s look at some fake data.

Date and TimeBusLocation
Monday, July 25, 2022, 6:39 am87Euclid & Holt, Ontario
Monday, July 25, 2022, 6:35 pm87Amazon LGB3, Eastvale
Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 6:39 am87Euclid & Holt, Ontario
Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 6:35 pm87Amazon LGB3, Eastvale
Wednesday, July 27, 2022, 8:42 am87Euclid & Holt, Ontario
Wednesday, July 27, 2022, 6:35 pm87Amazon LGB3, Eastvale
Thursday, July 28, 2022, 6:39 am87Euclid & Holt, Ontario
Thursday, July 28, 2022, 6:35 pm87Amazon LGB3, Eastvale
Thursday, July 28, 2022, 7:20 pm61Plum & Holt, Ontario
Thursday July 28, 2022, 9:52 pm61Ontario Mills, Ontario
Friday, July 29, 2022, 6:39 am87Euclid & Holt, Ontario
Friday, July 29, 2022, 8:35 am87Amazon LGB3, Eastvale
Friday, July 29, 2022, 10:00 am66Vineyard & Foothill, Rancho Cucamonga
Friday, July 29, 2022, 11:26 am14Fontana Metrolink
Friday, July 29, 2022, 11:53 am82Fontana Metrolink
Friday, July 29, 2022, 12:08 pm66Fontana Metrolink
Hypothetical logging of trips on Omnitrans Pass 12345.

Even if you are not familiar with California’s Inland Empire, you can probably classify these trips into the following categories:

  • Trips that are probably legitimate.
  • Trips that may or may not be legitimate.
  • Trips that are probably fraudulent.
  • Trips that are definitely fraudulent.

For the most part, you can’t know with certainty about the legitimacy of most of these trips. Here’s a story that fits the facts.

  • Jack Jones starts his new job at Amazon on Monday, and works Monday and Tuesday with no incident. Jack overslept on Wednesday and was written up. He made sure to arrive at work on time Thursday, and at the end of the day he celebrated with a dinner at a restaurant in the Ontario Mills shopping center. After arriving at work on Friday, Sara Smith picked his pocket and took his pass, fleeing the scene an hour later and making her way to Fontana. She creates several clones of the bus pass and sells them at a discount before fleeing herself. Therefore, all trips beginning on Friday at 8:35 am are fraudulent.

But that might not be the true story. This one also fits the facts.

  • Jack Jones starts his new job at Amazon on Monday, and works Monday and Tuesday with no incident. On Wednesday Jack calls in sick, but lets his housemate Bob Brown (who also works at Amazon) use his pass on Wednesday and Thursday. By Thursday evening, Jack is feeling better, retrieves his pass from his housemate, and goes to Ontario Mills for the evening. On Friday Jack goes to work and is fired. He boards the 87, misses his stop in Ontario, and stays on the bus until he reaches Rancho Cucamonga. Despondent, he decides to visit his friend in Fontana. However, his Fontana friend, Sara Smile, secretly created several clones of Jack’s bus pass and sells them at a discount. Therefore, the Wednesday trips, the Thursday day trips, and all Friday trips beginning at 11:26 am are fraudulent.

Or perhaps some other set of facts fit the data.

  • It’s possible that the pass was stolen before it was ever used and all of the trips are fraudulent.
  • Or perhaps every trip before arriving in Fontana is legitimate, but how can we tell which one (if any) of the three trips from Fontana was undertaken by the true passholder?

But the data that Omnitrans captured provides a way to challenge the pass holder for possibly fraudulent trips.

  • If Omnitrans is really suspicious for some reason, it may choose to challenge every trip that didn’t take place at the “regular” times of 6:39 am or 6:35 pm. “Why are you boarding the 87 bus at this hour of the morning?” “Why are you boarding the 61 bus?”
  • Or Omnitrans may assume that all of the trips are reasonable and don’t necessitate a challenge. Yes, someone can go to work late. Yes, someone can go to Ontario Mills for the evening. Well, all of them are reasonable until Friday at 11:53 am, when a passholder boards a bus at the same location where the same passholder supposedly departed at 11:26 am.

Now even if strict identity checks are used with the “why?” statement, the data alone can’t detect all fraud. If Jack Jones and Bob Brown both work the day shift at Amazon, but on alternate days, how can Omnitrans detect the days when Jack Jones leaves Ontario at 6:39 am, vs. the days when Bob Brown leaves Ontario at 6:39 am?

Again, no identity proofing method is 100% foolproof.

But the “why?” question may detect some forms of fraud.

Or are there really only five factors of authentication after all?

Now I’ll grant that “why?” might not be a sixth factor of authentication at all, but may fall under the existing “something you do” category. This factor is normally reserved for gestures or touches. For example, some facial liveness detection methods require you to move your head up, down, right, or left on command to prove that you are a real person. But you could probably classify boarding a bus as “something you do.”

Anyway, thank you for engaging my tangent. If I can think of a “why?” example that doesn’t involve something you do, I’ll post it here. That will help me in my hopeful (?) quest to become the inventor of the sixth factor of authentication.

What about the businesses in cities where my bus trips took place?

But back to the businesses in Ontario, Eastvale, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, and other cities: need some content help? I can create esoteric long-winded content like this, or (what you probably want) more concise, customer-focused content that conveys your important message. My regular work includes case studies, white papers, proposal services, and other types of content. If you need someone to help you create this content:

Happy July 2nd!

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain.

But we don’t celebrate on the anniversary of that day. Instead we celebrate the anniversary of the day that the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Which is why 4th and Euclid looks like this on Saturday morning.

4th and Euclid, July 2, 2022.

Come back Monday morning and it will look different, since 4th and Euclid is where Ontario’s Independence Day Parade begins.

Oh, and don’t park on Euclid that day.

Euclid, July 2, 2022.

Maybe the stork should deliver packages also

On Saturday morning, my wife and I returned from errands to find a huge package on our front porch. The package contained a crib.

Not this crib. This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Cveleglg at the Wikipedia project. This applies worldwide. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Krevetac22.JPG

No, my wife is not pregnant.

We examined the package and found the following:

  • A tag from the delivery company. I won’t name the company, but I will say that this package delivery was “off track.”
  • The true destination address for the package, which had the same street number but a different street name.
  • A message indicating that the crib was a gift.

Wrong deliveries have been a topic of conversation in my Ontario neighborhood on the NextDoor app, especially after “R” posted this:

From NextDoor. Author anonymized.

Many people did not agree with “R,” including myself.

So I tried to load the huge crib into the back seat of my car, but it was wider than the car. Since I didn’t want to drive around with an open car door, we went over to the real parents, who thankfully had a truck and picked up the crib.

But the package was delivered several days ago!

The most upsetting part of the story to me isn’t that the delivery company misdelivered the package in the first place.

The most upsetting part is that the delivery company told the parents-to-be several days ago that the package was delivered.

When it obviously wasn’t.

They had been wondering for several days where their supposedly-delivered package was, which wasn’t delivered until today…to the wrong address.

That’s really “off track.”

There’s a technology lesson here

All of the delivery companies, both the good ones and the bad ones, are incorporating package tracking technology into their operations. In theory, the technology lets you know exactly where the package is at any given time. In theory, this benefits the recipient by making sure the package is delivered to the right place at the right time.

But theory is not reality. This crib was lost in the system for several days. And I’ve previously shared the story about my business cards, which traveled from Nevada to California to Texas before returning to California.

It took longer than expected, but I finally got them.

Why do these errors happen? One reason is because the automation isn’t completely automated. Everything still depends on humans in the loop. For example, this morning’s delivery depended on a human to verify that they were delivering the package to the street name on the address label, and not some other street.

Another example that doesn’t amuse me is delivery time guarantees. Let’s say a package is promised to arrive at 10:30 am. In the real world, the package may not arrive until noon or later, but if you check the system, the system says the package was delivered at 10:29…and that many of the delivery driver’s packages coincidentally were delivered at 10:29!

But this is not a technology problem. It’s a business problem.

But it’s really a business lesson

While the delivery company strives for on-time and accurate deliveries, their actual processes to achieve this end up hurting the company. Rather than making sure that the package truly arrives correctly in the real world, the employees are incentivized to make sure the system records correct delivery of packages.

And the employees are punished (maybe fired) if the system says the package wasn’t delivered to the right place and/or at the right time.

The result? Some employee, afraid of losing their job, recorded a crib delivery several days ago to address X when the crib was really delivered today to address Y.

This is something that technology cannot solve. This can only be solved when a company focuses on delighting its customers, rather than reprimanding its employees.

What are you doing to delight your customers?

Unrestricted use from the Truman Library, part of the NARA. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Truman_pass-the-buck.jpg

Ontario Fire Station No. 9 Grand Opening

Ontario Fire Station No. 9.

On Saturday, April 30, 2022, the city of Ontario (California) held its COVID-delayed grand opening for its newest fire station, in the newer southeastern part of the city (2661 E. Grand Park St). The fire station actually opened in January, but the ribbon cutting was held this morning.

Ontario Fire Station No. 9 ribbon cutting. From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9-Gmg2UlbE
2661 E. Grand Park St, Ontario, CA 91762. From Google Maps.

Public safety is a tough profession. I’ve worked with police more than fire/EMS, but it’s tough for all of them. At the ceremony, Ontario Mayor Paul Leon shared the story of a time that he accompanied the Ontario Fire Department on a call. Although Mayor Leon was wearing protective gear, he had to stop at a certain point because of the intense heat from the fire. The firefighters kept right on going, because it was their job.

And now the department has one more station, ensuring that the residents and businesses in that corner of Ontario will be safe.

From https://www.instagram.com/p/CcOwIKsvKV2/

Why the Toyota Arena’s square footage is unimportant in Zurdo vs. Boesel marketing…or YOUR marketing

There is a LOT going on in Ontario, California that escapes the attention of most of us. For example, only dedicated boxing fans may know what is happening here on May 14.

Former world champion and light heavyweight Mexican boxing star Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez (43-0, 29 KOs) of Mazatlán, Mexico, will face former WBA Interim Light Heavyweight World Champion Dominic Boesel (32-2, 12 KOs) of Freyburg, Germany on Saturday, May 14….The event will take place at Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA, and will stream live exclusively on DAZN.

From https://www.ringtv.com/638236-gilberto-ramirez-dominic-boesel-set-for-may-14-in-ontario-california/

So why didn’t I learn about the Ramirez-Boesel fight until a week after this April 22 announcement?

Because I’m not part of the target market for this fight.

The announcement that I quoted above was shared on The Ring website. Obviously people who visit that particular site are interested in boxing.

And the Toyota Arena is certainly promoting it. (“Zurdo” is Ramirez’s nickname.) Notice the prominent “BUY TICKETS” call to action. The Toyota Arena wants you to attend the event in-person.

And the DAZN streaming service is obviously talking about it and hoping that you sign up for the service. The yellow “SIGN UP NOW” buttons (two of them in this screen alone) are hard to miss. Unlike the Toyota Arena, DAZN doesn’t require you to be in person to view this fight.

DAZN website, Zurdo vs. Boesel streaming sign up.
From https://www.dazn.com/en-US/sport/Sport:2x2oqzx60orpoeugkd754ga17/abtjyjpn1btla7vxkzowzh5h5

What the Toyota Arena and the DAZN streaming service DIDN’T do when marketing the fight

Let’s look at one aspect of how the fight is being marketed.

Have you ever noticed that some companies believe that the best way to market themselves is to talk about themselves? They’re worse than a self-obsessed narcissist on a date.

Major Frank Burns (Larry Linville).
Major Frank Burns (portrayed by Larry Linville) of M*A*S*H fame. (Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan not pictured.) By CBS Television – eBayfrontbackeBayphoto front & release, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30082123

If the “my company is most important” people were promoting this fight, the Toyota Arena could have started its Zurdo vs. Boesel page with the text below.

Toyota Arena, built and owned by the City of Ontario, operated by ASM Global, can accommodate over 11,000 guests. The 225,000 square foot venue features 36 luxury suites located on two levels and a continuous concourse hosting a variety of concession and refreshment stands, merchandise kiosks, the VIP Club and other fan amenities. Toyota Arena hosts over 125 events annually including concerts, family shows, and sporting competitions. The Arena is home to several sport teams including: Ontario Reign (American Hockey League), Ontario Fury (Major Arena Soccer League), Aqua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (G League Basketball), and LA Temptation (Legends Football League).

From https://www.toyota-arena.com/arena-info/about

This text appears on the arena’s “About Us” page. Why not also put it on the page for the fight, to ensure that the readers see it and realize the sheer awesomeness of the arena, the City of Ontario, and ASM Global?

Why not talk about the arena at the beginning of the fight announcement? Because fight promoters are smart. Fight promoters know that to make a sale, they need to maintain a customer focus.

Let’s say that you’re a boxing promoter and YOU have to promote this fight. Which of the following two facts is more important?

  1. Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez has a boxing record of 43-0 with 29 knockouts.
  2. The Toyota Arena is a 225,000 square foot facility.

Now perhaps the janitorial staff that has to service the Toyota Arena is more concerned about item 2, but if you want boxing fans to buy tickets or streaming access, you’re going to aggressively promote item 1 and maintain your customer focus.

So what is MY call to action to YOU?

If I were to ask you, there is a high probability that you are not a boxing promoter. I know this because I’m not submitting this post to The Ring as a press release, but am instead sharing it in various Inland Empire West business channels.

However, there is a pretty good probability that you own or manage a local business, and you have your own news that you want to get out.

And this news must resonate with your customers.

  • Perhaps you want to share a customer success story, case study, or testimonial—a casetimonial, if you will. This document must appeal to your customers, speak to their needs, and ideally lead to them considering your company’s services or products.
  • Or perhaps you want to share a white paper that addresses your customers’ needs, but also drives them to consider your business. For example, you might distribute a white paper that lists seven critical criteria for customer success—and coincidentally, your company’s offering satisfies all seven critical criteria. (What an amazing coincidence!)

Regardless of your desired written content, you need the services of an Ontario, California content marketing expert who can work with you and maintain a customer focus in your content marketing.

Ontario Convention Center.
By Mack Male – originally posted to Flickr as Ontario Convention Center, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9512928

I, John E. Bredehoft, through my Ontario-based DBA Bredemarket, can write casetimonials, white papers, and other types of content, working with you to answer these and other critical questions BEFORE producing the content:

  • Why, how, and what do you do?
  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

After you’ve provided the relevant information to me, I’ll create the first iteration of the content, and we’ll work together to create your final content. The specifics of how we will work together depend upon whether you have elected the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service, the Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service, or something else.

When we’re done, that final content is yours (a “work for hire” arrangement).

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

A Dry Summer in the Inland Empire West

Housing construction in north Fontana, showing the lack of vegetation in the Inland Empire West
By BenFrantzDale – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4055862

We’re dry again. Actually, we’ve been dry since before October 19, 2021.

Following the second driest year on record and with near record low storage in California’s largest reservoirs, Governor Gavin Newsom today issued a proclamation extending the drought emergency statewide and further urging Californians to step up their water conservation efforts as the western U.S. faces a potential third dry year.

From https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/10/19/governor-newsom-expands-drought-emergency-statewide-urges-californians-to-redouble-water-conservation-efforts/

Now this would be the place for me to insert a picture of a dry reservoir, but I prefer statistical evidence to anecdotal evidence. And statistically, one of our local reservoirs, Lake Perris, is definitely lower than it was in prior years.

Regardless of how one feels about governmental powers, I think all of us can agree that if all people and businesses in California use the maximum amount of water, things won’t be so good.

What may IEUA cities do starting June 1?

As a result of the current drought conditions, the Metropolitan Water District has asked the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) and five other agencies to take emergency actions effective June 1.

[T]he MWD has asked six of its member agencies to consider requiring its customers to restrict outdoor watering to just one day per week, or find other ways to conserve water, according to the large water agency that provides water to 19 million people in six counties.

From https://www.dailynews.com/2022/04/26/southern-california-water-supplier-adopts-unprecedented-rule-limiting-outdoor-irrigation/

For the record, the IEUA serves several cities in southwestern San Bernardino County.

As a regional wastewater treatment agency, the Agency provides sewage utility services to seven contracting agencies under the Chino Basin Regional Sewage Service Contract: the cities of Chino, Chino Hills, Fontana, Montclair, Ontario, Upland, and Cucamonga Valley Water District (CVWD) in the city of Rancho Cucamonga.

In addition to the contracting agencies, the Agency provides wholesale imported water from MWD to seven retail agencies: the cities of Chino, Chino Hills, Ontario, Upland, CVWD in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana Water Company in the city of Fontana, and Monte Vista Water District (MVWD) in the city of Montclair.

From https://www.ieua.org/about-us/

But the MWD isn’t the only water provider

Notice that MWD has only asked that the IEUA “consider” restrictions. Why can’t MWD mandate them? Because the MWD is not the only water provider for the agencies in question. Take the city of Upland, for example:

The City water interests are a result of either a direct water right or indirectly through its shareholder interest (entitlement) in two private mutual water companies. The City has a 93% shareholder interest in West End Consolidated Water Company (WECWco.). The water received from WECWCo. is local groundwater. The City has a 68% shareholder interest in San Antonio Water Company (SAW Co.). Both local groundwater and surface water from San Antonio Canyon is provided by SAW Co. San Antonio canyon surface water supply is subject to availability and is closely tied to rain and snowpack. This local surface is treated at the City’s San Antonio Water Treatment Plant. In addition to the local surface and groundwater supplies, the City invested and owns 22% interest in an 81 million gallon imported water treatment plant, Water Facilities Authority (WFA-JPA), Agua de Lejos located on Benson Avenue north of 17th Street. The WFA water treatment plant receives Northern California State Project imported water from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) through Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) our MWD member agency. In 2013, IEUA completed regional pipeline facilities and began delivering recycled water. Recycled water is predominantly available in the southeastern sector of the City and is mostly used for large landscape irrigation areas, such as the Upland Hill Country Club Golf Course, City Parks, several school grounds and the Euclid Avenue median.

From https://www.uplandca.gov/water

Cities will require you NOT to water, except when cities require you TO water

As you can see, water rights can get a bit complicated. Especially when a city such as Upland threatens to fine a resident for NOT watering a lawn, as occurred in 2014.

Fernand Bogman stopped watering his grass in an effort to preserve water given current drought conditions.

“Under the current circumstances, I don’t believe that that is acceptable that we waste water,” Bogman told Goldberg.

The situation unfolded a few weeks back after Bogman was told a neighbor complained about his yard to the city.

That phone call led city officials to demand that he keep his grass green.

From https://www.cbsnews.com/losangeles/news/upland-man-could-face-steep-fines-for-allegedly-failing-to-water-lawn/

The charges were eventually dropped in 2015.

Anyway, if you live in one of the named cities, or in any city in California, be sure to keep up with your local city to see if water restrictions will affect you.

Four truths and a fable about the Ontario-San Antonio Heights “Mule Car”

Even people who live in Ontario, California may not know the story of the “mule car” in the median of Euclid Avenue at B St. You can see the mule car behind me in the “Cloudy days at the mule car” video below.

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw5Uc2VKCI8

(And yes, sometimes the sun DOESN’T shine in Southern California.)

Four truths about the Ontario mule car

There are four things about the mule car that we know as fact.

1. The Ontario mule car began service in 1888

The single-car train line connected Ontario, North Ontario (North Ontario was later known as Upland), and San Antonio Heights (near 24th and Mountain today), and benefited local residents by providing an easy way to travel between the three establishments. As the Historical Marker Database website notes, more and more people settled on the master-planned Euclid Avenue in the years after Ontario was established in 1882, and the train line provided an easy way to travel north and south.

2. The Ontario mule car benefited from gravity

For those who are not familiar with San Antonio Heights, Upland, or Ontario, the northernmost community (San Antonio Heights) is near the mountains, and (according to the Electric Railway Historical Association) there is an elevation drop of 1200 feet over the ten miles from San Antonio Heights to Ontario.

Of course, from the southern perspective of Ontario (see this Pacific Electric Railway page for a picture of the railway looking north), there is an increase in elevation of 1200 feet, which is why the mules were needed to pull the train up the hill. The uphill climb took about an hour.

Once the train reached San Antonio Heights and began its descent back to Ontario, the mules were no longer needed to pull the car.

[O]n the return trip the motive power climbed aboard a tiny trailer and coasted down with the car.

From http://www.erha.org/peeosah.htm

The downhill descent for the passengers (and the mules) took only 20 minutes. We’ll return to this later.

Mule use was not confined to the Inland Empire West. Mules were famously used in Death Valley. By NPS image from [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=124025

Since this is the Bredemarket blog, I can’t let this story pass without discussing the benefits of this system:

  1. Faster travel to on the southbound route to Ontario due to the faster downhill time.
  2. No use of power for the southbound route.
  3. Greater energy on the northbound route due to the rest that the mules received on the southbound journey.

(For additional information on benefits, click here.)

3. After electrification in 1895, the mule-less train line continued service until 1928

After several years, the train was electrified and the mules were no longer needed to power the train. This is when the train celebrated its heyday.

A thirty-acre amusement park was built by the company of San Antonio Heights, with a powerhouse adjoining. Heavy crowds were transported along Euclid Ave. in the early days, for the line connected Ontario with Upland, provided connections between the (Southern Pacific) Station at Ontario and the Santa Fe Station at Upland, and cared for the thongs bound for pleasure-seeking at the Park. 

From http://www.erha.org/peeosah.htm

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any additional information about the original 30-acre amusement park. Today’s “San Antonio Park” has ball fields, BBQ, picnic tables, a picnic shelter/gazebo, a playground, and restrooms, plus the historical San Antonio Heights Railroad Company Waiting Station. Fun, but not THAT fun.

And, of course, this provided benefits to various stakeholders:

  1. The rail line benefited from increased revenue from passengers who wanted to connect from other rail lines to get to destinations on the route, most notably the park.
  2. The park benefited from a convenient way to arrive, something that we seem to have lost today, since neither Ontario International Airport nor Los Angeles International Airport enjoy direct train service. (The Omnitrans 61 bus route goes to Ontario Airport every 20-30 minutes, and some day the Boring Company may establish a train connection.)
  3. Passengers benefited from an easy way to get to this park.

(For additional information on benefits, click here.)

Ownership of the train line passed from the Ontario Electric Company to the Pacific Light & Power Corporation in 1908, and eventually to Southern Pacific in 1912, where it became the Pacific Electric Ontario & San Antonio Heights Line.

Eventually this rail line, like all rail lines in Southern California, ran into hard times because of our growing adoption of motor bus and automobile travel.

Line cut back to La Cima on 4 July 1924; on 1 November 1924, cut back to Upland. On 6 October. 1928, Ontario-Upland Line abandoned…. In the abandonment hearing in 1928, PE produced records which tended to show that this line was hopelessly incapable of earning even operating expenses.

From http://www.erha.org/peeosah.htm

4. Today’s mule car at Euclid and B is a replica

If you visit the mule car at Euclid and B and wonder at how well-preserved it is, that’s because this isn’t the original 1887 mule car, which was lost to the winds of history. This is a replica, built in 1956-1957 and restored in approximately 1974. As the inscription on the plaque notes:

Photographed By Joseph Beeman, April 9, 2006. From https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=37512

In 1956, William Richardson headed a group of citizens to have a replica of the original Mule Car constructed for the city’s 75th anniversary in 1957. With donated funds “a couple of prop guys from the MGM Studios in Hollywood” recreated it, working from old photos. After the 1957 Mule celebration, the Mule Car was stored in the City Yards, abandoned and forgotten.

In memory of their son Donald, who worked for the City of Ontario, Kip and Elinore Carlson and their friends restored the Mule Car and constructed this facility. On April 28, 1974, this Mule Car was dedicated “to the whole community.”

From https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=37512

One fable about the Ontario mule car

There is one thing about the mule car that may or may not be true, but it makes for a good story. Both hmdb.org and erha.org, as well as other sites such as our local Best Western website, tell the story of what happened to the mules after the train route was electrified and the mules were no longer needed.

According to the sources, the mules were sold to a farmer, who put the mules to work on his farm. This worked out for the farmer…half of the time. When the mules were required to plow uphill, they did so with no complaints.

However, according to the story, the mules refused to work downhill.

They expected a ride for the downhill part.