OCTA Transit Committee recommends to OCTA Board bus-service cuts that will have impact countywide
From the Orange County Register – Orange County transportation officials approved a plan today to slash the late-night service that serves graveyard-shift workers and eliminate routes that go from Huntington Beach to Costa Mesa and Brea to Santa Ana.
The plan cuts 150,000 hours of service from the bus schedule – a smaller cut than the Orange County Transportation Authority had expected to make. At one time, the agency was looking to slash 300,000 hours of service.
The Transit Committee voted 4-1 in favor of the cuts with Chairwoman Janet Nguyen voting no – saying that she’s opposed to the cuts.
Eight bus riders and their advocates voiced their concern to the committee, including a woman whose microphone was taken away after Nguyen argued that she had already spoken. A student said that slashing routes would make it difficult to get to Cal State Fullerton.
Eliminated routes include service from Seal Beach to Westminster and Brea to Santa Ana on weekdays Service from Fullerton to Orange will completely be eliminated on weekends and weekdays.
Mid-day service from Fullerton to Huntington Beach will be eliminated on weekdays.
Director Richard Dixon voiced concern over slashing a route from Costa Mesa to Mission Viejo – saying that on Saturdays it would affect people going to the Norman P. Murray Senior Center. He was also concerned about other South County routes that would affect library and hospital trips.
The plan will eliminate about 8 percent of the county’s bus service by early next year
OCTA had been preparing to cut 300,000 service hours by March. But that was before the state lost a lawsuit over how it handles millions of dollars in transportation funds – a ruling the OCTA thinks could send $18 million its way annually starting within two years.
“We have students. We have the handicapped. We have mothers in Santa Ana. What we’ve tried to do is balance it so that everybody in this community has some type of service,” said Director Art Brown. “We’re going to have to lay off bus drivers, mechanics and cleaners. We’re going to lose a lot of employees on this cut also.”
By Alejandra Molina
Orange County Register