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OCTA Plans to Cut Santa Ana Bus Routes Draw Fire

January 18, 2016

From Voice of OC – As they struggle to cope with declining ridership, Orange County Transportation Authority officials are planning to cut several underperforming bus routes, and in doing so are drawing criticism from some in Santa Ana who say they are reducing bus access to one of the county’s most underserved populations.

As part of a plan that officials say will improve its most heavily trafficked bus routes, the agency has proposed eliminating fifteen routes that have the lowest ridership, many which are located in South County. Several other bus lines countywide will be shortened or their routes altered.

Resources will then be dedicated to increasing bus service along higher performing routes, including the addition of two new Bravo! Express routes. One will run between Long Beach and Tustin, and another from Fullerton to Huntington Beach.

But two casualties of the Transportation Authority’s effort to maximize efficiency are routes that take riders to and from Santa Ana and Costa Mesa, route 51 (Flower Street) and 145 (Raitt/Greenville/Fairview streets). The Transportation Authority considers those routes unnecessary because there are already buses that run parallel to them, and riders can connect to other lines to get where they need to go.

Yet those changes could also exacerbate overcrowding on existing bus routes and decrease overall access for Santa Ana residents, who ride buses more than any other part of the county, argues Phil Bacerra, a Santa Ana Planning Commissioner.

“Instead of taking needed transit service away from Santa Ana and giving it to areas that do not use it, OCTA should make those routes more attractive by adding service,” Bacerra wrote in an email to the agency’s board that has been circulating among several Santa Ana activist groups.

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