Transit system study explores new options to improve efficiency

A comprehensive study designed to maximize the efficiency of Orange County’s transit system has been completed and recommendations on implementing changes are expected to be brought forward later this summer.

The Transit System Study is an analysis of Orange County’s transit system that focused on finding long-term ways of providing cost-effective transit service over the next decade. Preliminary service concepts were developed in June and shared with the public, local officials and transit advocates who provided feedback on ways to best serve the needs of Orange County residents.

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) board of directors is anticipated to vote on an implementation plan in September, which will be a multiyear, phased approach to improving transit service throughout the county. Changes could include modifying service, implementing Go Local projects and adding new services such as flex routes and call-n-ride zones.

“The Transit System Study is an important tool that will help us determine how we can meet the needs of our riders and best manage limited taxpayer dollars efficiently,” said OCTA Chair Patricia Bates, also the Fifth District Supervisor. “A combination of innovation, planning and listening to the public will ensure our ability to provide long-term sustainable transportation options for those who depend upon us.”

Between 2008 and 2010, OCTA was forced to reduce bus service by approximately 20 percent because of a decline in state transit funding, historic drops in sales tax revenue and reduced ridership as a result of record unemployment. OCTA launched the Transit System Study in response to those service reductions as a way to explore options to maximize the system’s efficiency.