OCTA Proposal Would Increase Bus Fares by 33 Percent in February

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The Orange County Transportation Authority is proposing a 33-percent bus fare increase across the county, a result of dwindling ridership driven by high unemployment and rising operating costs, according to the authority.

Cash fares aboard buses would rise from the current $1.50 to $2. Day passes would cost $5 — a $1 or 25-percent increase.

According to the OCTA website, multiday passes would increase by several dollars. Passes for college employees and students, senior citizens and the disabled would also face price hikes.

Since fiscal year 2008-09, fare revenue has dropped by $4 million, according to the OCTA website.

In addition to decreased revenue, the authority risks losing sales tax funding if riders don’t pay at least 20 percent of the cost of the bus system, the website says.

The fare increase would take effect in February, according to the website. A series of community meetings is planned to explain the issue and receive residents’ feedback. The fare hikes are scheduled for public hearing Oct. 22.

The first community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Southwest Senior Center, 2201 W. McFadden Ave, Santa Ana. A meeting at the Laguna Hills Community Center, 25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday.

— ADAM ELMAHREK

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