ORANGE – As part of a plan to combat bus ridership declines, the Orange County Transportation Authority board on Monday, July 24, approved moving forward with service changes in October and February.
The proposed changes to 43 routes, which the board approved unanimously, would affect about 3 percent of the bus system countywide, according to an OCTA staff report. That’s a much smaller impact than the service reallocation implemented last year that affected 10 percent of the system.
“Recommendations that we have put together for both the October and February service changes will improve system productivity and reduce the number of peak buses required to provide our service,” said Gary Hewitt, OCTA’s manager of transit planning.
The changes are part of the OC Bus 360 plan the board endorsed in 2015 to boost ridership by 1.3 million riders over the next three years, through initiatives that include shifting service from low-performing routes to areas with higher demand.
October service changes targeting a dozen routes are already set. Three routes will be discontinued – 411 from Anaheim Canyon Metrolink Station to Canyon Corporate Center, 430 from Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center to Anaheim Resort area, and 490 from Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Metrolink Station to Aliso Viejo.
In addition, Route 37 from La Habra to Fountain Valley will undergo “mixed changes” — more than one modification to the route — and routes 1, 35, 55, 71, 79, 85, 129 and 143 will see “minor” trip eliminations, according to the OCTA staff report.
Board members on Monday directed staff to conduct public outreach, with three community meetings to discuss the February proposals encompassing 31 routes. Several are considered “major service changes” under OCTA’s policy and require a public hearing – scheduled for Sept. 25 – prior to board approval, according to the staff report.
Proposed weekday route changes include increasing frequency on…