The Orange County Transportation Authority is helping cities in Orange County bring back popular summer shuttle services as more residents and visitors return to outdoor activities with a sharp decline in impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis.
The community shuttle services, which are low-cost or free to ride, are funded in part by Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, also known as OC Go.
“The community shuttles are an important part of how we keep Orange County moving, especially during the great weather and abundance of activities in the summer,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do, also the county’s First District Supervisor. “As we reopen our economy, seeing these shuttles returning to our communities is an encouraging sign. It’s also a great way to keep our residents and visitors moving safely, while helping provide cleaner air with fewer vehicles on our roads.”
Many summer shuttles connect to one another, and to OC Bus and Metrolink stops, making it easier to travel to popular destinations without a car. Shuttle services will be returning gradually and will allow residents to avoid driving and parking hassles while enjoying what Orange County has to offer.
San Clemente was the first to reinitiate shuttle service on May 14, with weekend-only services until mid-June. The city of Dana Point is next to resume operations starting May 28, followed by San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach set to resume services in June.
The next wave of shuttles are anticipated to start in summer and fall, including the Newport Beach Balboa Peninsula Trolley, iShuttle routes in Irvine, the Mission Viejo Community Circulator service, Laguna Beach’s Off-Season Weekend Trolley, and La Habra’s Special Events Service.
The remaining shuttles, including the Laguna Niguel Summer Trolley and the Huntington Beach Southeast Rideshare Pilot Program, are anticipated to start in 2022 or after.
Shuttles are operated by local jurisdictions. Some of the safety precautions they have in place include: requiring face coverings, operating at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing, equipping vehicles with hand-sanitizer stations and installing barriers between drivers and passengers. High-touch areas will frequently be wiped down and the shuttles will be fully disinfected at the end of each shift.
OCTA continues to work closely with cities in monitoring ridership and evaluating costs as the services return.
For more information, please visit www.octa.net and check with individual operators for route information and hours of operation.