Community Input Sparks Changes to Bus Plan

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The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Feb. 11, 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION:                                        
Joel Zlotnik (714) 560-5713
Eric Carpenter (714) 560-5697

  

Community Input Sparks Changes to Bus Plan

OCTA Transit Committee recommends modifications to improve service speed and efficiency, and reduce negative impacts on riders

ORANGE – Based on community feedback, the Transit Committee of the Orange County Transportation Authority has recommended multiple changes to its 2016 proposed Bus Service Plan, which is intended to reverse the trend of declining bus ridership.

During the last two months, OCTA collected and reviewed extensive public feedback and conducted additional technical analysis of the plan. This has resulted in a revised plan that modifies 14 of the 35 routes originally proposed for changes. In addition, the revised plan cuts in half the number of riders who would lose service – from 4 percent to 2 percent. The revised plan also addresses impacts to OCTA’s ACCESS customers.

Among other adjustments, OCTA proposes to:

  • Introduce a new Route 150, covering major portions of Routes 51 and 145 that are being eliminated. This new route will run from Costa Mesa to Santa Ana, providing direct service to Santa Ana College and other nearby schools.
  • Retain Route 87 based on feedback from Saddleback Unified School District. Route 87 runs along Alicia Parkway, providing service from Rancho Santa Margarita to Laguna Niguel.
  • Extend the hours of the Same-Day Taxi Program for ACCESS users and implement a pilot program to eliminate the $3.60 transfer cost between the same-day taxi and the regular ACCESS service.

The fundamental strategy of the plan is to shift service from low-performing routes to areas where there is higher demand. It’s an effort to better meet the community’s needs by matching limited funding with ridership demand. The plan aims to strike a balance between providing efficient and convenient service, while being as cost-effective as possible.

To gather feedback on the plan, OCTA hosted a public hearing in January. More than 150 bus riders, public transportation advocates and local community representatives were in attendance and a total of 65 speakers, from 24 different cities, shared how they would be impacted by any changes to the bus system.

In addition to the public hearing, approximately 180 transit advocates and bus riders attended a series of four community meetings OCTA hosted throughout the county in December and more than 1,300 comments were submitted via phone, e-mail and an online survey.

The proposed bus service plan is expected to increase ridership by 1.3 million boardings over the next three years and reverse the trend of dropping ridership. Since 2008, OCTA has lost more than 20 million passengers, a reduction of 30 percent.

OCTA’s board of directors will vote on the final plan for the proposed bus system changes at the Feb. 22 board meeting.

For more information on the bus service plan, please visit www.octa.net/2016busplan.

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