The Orange County Transportation Authority on Sunday, June 14 will implement changes that increase daily OC Bus service to Saturday service levels on most routes Monday through Saturday, add bus trips on the busiest routes to help allow for social distancing, and restore regular weekday service on 14 routes.
The change to modified Saturday service reflects about 60 percent of the regular service that was offered before the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sunday bus service will continue at regular Sunday service levels. And OC ACCESS paratransit, for eligible riders with physical or cognitive limitations, will remain operating at full service levels.
Saturday service levels will be implemented on 37 bus routes in all, and additional OC Bus trips will be added on weekdays to 15 more heavily traveled routes to continue allowing for social distancing. More information on bus routes and schedules is available online at www.ocbus.com.
“OCTA remains committed to keeping the health and safety of our customers and OCTA employees as the No. 1 priority while continuing to provide essential transit services,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove. “As our county begins to gradually and responsibly reopen, the OC Bus system will be there to help our residents safely get where they need to go.”
OCTA continues to follow health guidance from federal, state and local agencies. Since the public health crisis began, OCTA has implemented several safety measures, which continue. That includes hand sanitizer available to riders on every OC Bus, enhanced nightly cleaning of buses with extra focus on surfaces frequently touched and temporary rear-door boardings.
OC Bus riders are also asked to wear face coverings on board and follow social-distancing recommendations while on the bus. When possible, OCTA will limit the number of passengers onboard to allow for social distancing.
On March 23, OCTA reduced OC Bus service levels to Sunday service levels – about 40 percent of regular service – on all days of the week.
That temporary reduction in service was implemented to protect coach operators and the community from the spread of COVID-19. It was also in response to a sharp decline in ridership as Orange County followed the state’s stay-at-home orders, and OC Bus continued to operate for essential workers and those who relied on public transportation for essential trips.
As Orange County has started to reopen under the state’s guidance, ridership has also seen corresponding increases. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the OC Bus system saw an average of nearly 125,000 riders per day. That number dropped in March and April to approximately 33,000 daily riders, but in recent weeks has picked up again to approximately 47,000 daily riders.
The modified Saturday service schedule is listed by route on the www.OCBus.com website. Bilingual signs notifying bus riders of the June 14 changes are being placed at all OCTA bus stops and printed brochures will be mailed to customers who call in requesting the information.
Riders will also be notified through onboard announcements, social media, and email blasts, and in multiple languages, including Spanish and Vietnamese.
OCTA is continuing to monitor the evolving situation and will adapt as needed for the health and safety of the public. OC Bus riders are encouraged to periodically check the OC Bus website and look for updates.
This article was released by the Orange County Transportation Authority.