Transit Activists to Pitch Ways to Save OCTA Bus Routes

More than 60 people got up and spoke at Monday's board meeting for the Orange County Transit Authority. Pacific Progressive has the run-down: It was a diverse group of people telling OCTA how detrimental further cuts to the OC bus system would be.

It's a sticky issue. Facing a steep decline in sales tax revenues and budget cuts from the state legislature, some form of public transportation cutbacks would seem inevitable. OCTA already slashed 233,000 hours of bus service, and is now considering a plan to cut 300,000 more.

But the Transit Advocates of Orange County say they think they've found a way out. Tomorrow, OCTA may consider whether they're right.

Combing through budgets, staff reports and OCTA history, TAOC has come up with a list of 27 measures the agency could take to save money and expand revenues. TAOC's Jane Reifer told the Weekly that she thinks the measures would be enough to prevent the 300,000 hour cut currently being considered by OCTA.

Read the list of recommendations, along with some background, here (it's a PDF).

The suggestions include cutting the printing of redundant bus schedules, rejiggering Measure M dollars and, most tantalizingly, reclaiming the $37.7 million of OCTA money–meant for buses–that has been diverted to the Bristol Street widening construction.

And one recommendation–moving money from a rail fund to the bus fund–was already approved by the board but never implemented, Reifer said. Tomorrow, the OCTA Finance and Administration Committee will consider getting that one finally done. If approved, it would mean a $68 million shot in the arm to the bus system, according to the committee's agenda (PDF again).

Reifer and other TAOC members will be at the meeting to lobby for the implementation of the rest of their proposals. It begins at 10:30 a.m. at OCTA headquarters in Orange.

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