The Orange County Transportation Authority this week increased OC Bus service on several routes and introduced a discounted Welcome Pass to encourage riders to safely return to using public transportation.
The OC Bus August service change was approved by the OCTA board as an additional change to Orange County bus service. This is in addition to the scheduled changes to service that take place three times a year, in February, June and October.
“OCTA continues to respond to the needs of OC Bus riders during the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do. “We will always keep the safety of our passengers and employees as the first priority, while ensuring the best level of transit services so our residents, workers and visitors can get where they need to be.”
As part of the service change, which took effect on Sunday, Aug. 15:
- 289 additional bus trips were added throughout the county
- More frequent service was added on 14 routes
- Improved hours of operation with earlier and/or later service was added on 19 routes
- Two routes previously suspended were added back.
At the same time, OCTA introduced a Welcome Pass, which can save riders up to 40 percent compared to the already affordable OC Bus passes.
Options for the Welcome Pass include:
- Five one-day Welcome Passes for $15 (a $10 savings compared to the regular price).
- A 30-day Welcome Pass for $40 (a $29 savings over a traditional 30-day pass).
Welcome Passes are good for use between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15, 2021. Once activated, the 30-day Welcome Pass must be used for 30 consecutive days during this time period.
Information on the Welcome Pass is available online at www.ocbus.com/welcome.
In September, OCTA is also introducing a six-month promotional Youth Ride Free Pass, which will allow passengers ages 18 and under to ride any OCTA fixed-route bus in Orange County for free.
Throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis, OCTA has remained flexible and committed to protecting the health of the public and employees. That initially meant reducing service to encourage the public to only take essential trips, and adding numerous safety measures to OC Buses, including hand-sanitizer stations and free face coverings for those who needed them.
As the number of coronavirus cases receded and more businesses reopened, OCTA has gradually added back service to meet the increasing ridership demand. Last week, OC Bus ridership reached an average of 71,000 daily riders, the highest number since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Safety remains the priority and masks are still required to be worn aboard all OC Bus and OC ACCESS paratransit buses.
The next OC Bus service adjustment is scheduled for October and then again in February 2022. But OCTA will make changes, as needed, to respond to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.
For more information, visit www.ocbus.com.