Orange County Transportation Authority

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"OCTA" redirects here. For other uses, see Octa (disambiguation).
Orange County Transportation Authority
OCTA Orange County logo.gif
NABI 40.09 LFW bus OCTA.jpg
Founded 1991
Headquarters 550 S. Main St.
Orange, California, USA
Service area Orange County
Service type bus service, paratransit, toll roads
Routes 77
Hubs 6
Fleet 553
Daily ridership 51.4 million (FY 2012-13) (Annual total)
Fuel type Diesel, CNG, LNG
Operator OCTA, MV Transportation
Chief executive Darrell Johnson
Website OCTA

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is the public sector transportation planning body and mass transit service provider for Orange County, California. Its ancestor agencies include not only the prior Orange County Transit District but also such diverse entities as the Pacific Electric Railway and the South Coast Transit Corporation. In 2005, OCTA was judged America's Best Public Transportation System by the American Public Transportation Association, for its record gains in bus and Metrolink commuter trains ridership that it operates or funds. OCTA also operates the 91 Express Lanes.

The Authority's administrative offices are located in the city of Orange and it maintains bus operations bases in the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, and Santa Ana. MV Transportation operates a paratransit base for the authority’s ACCESS service located on Construction Circle in the city of Irvine in addition to a number of fixed routes out of the Sand Canyon Base, also in Irvine.

History[edit]

OCTD busses in the 1980s

OCTA's predecessor agency, the Orange County Transit District, was created in August 1972 by a referendum of county voters. It originally started as Santa Ana Transit, a small transit agency with five bus routes operating in Orange County. Santa Ana Transit later merged with other, smaller agencies throughout the county, eventually leading to the formation of OCTD. The routing system was formed over the course of about 15 years and was held in place until the merge to OCTA.

In 1991, OCTA was created under state law, combining the seven separate Orange County agencies that managed transportation planning:

  • Orange County Transportation Commission
  • Orange County Transit District
  • Consolidated Transportation Services Agency
  • Orange County Local Transportation Authority
  • Orange County Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies
  • Orange County Congestion Management Agency
  • Orange County Service Authority for Abandoned Vehicles

Park-and-ride facilities, public transportation and other transportation related administrative offices merged into one organization. OCTA administers funds from Measure M, the half-cent transportation sales tax. Measure M was originally passed in 1990 and renewed in 2006. It has paid for the expansion on most freeways within Orange County, street improvements and repairs, traffic signal synchronization, and increased Metrolink service.[1]

In 1995, OCTA suffered tremendously during the Orange County bankruptcy and never fully recovered. The agency lost $202 million in revenue over 17 years due to the bankruptcy.[2] As a result, bus service was reduced.

Labor disputes[edit]

OCTA (including the former OCTD) has been involved in various labor disputes between itself and its drivers, members of the Teamsters Union Local 952, including strikes in 1986 and 2007.

In April 2007, drivers threatened to strike again over the current contract. OCTA offered a 13% raise over three years, but union sources said that it only came out to 8% after factoring in inflation. The drivers voted to strike. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger intervened. He first issued a one-week cool-off, and later extended it to 60 days, while talks continued. Negotiations over wage and pension issues failed, and the union started to strike on July 7, 2007, at the end of the cooling-off period.[3][4] This conflict was resolved on 16 July 2007 when the union ratified a new contract.[5] Within a few days, the bus system was running at full capability.

Bus service[edit]

Routes[edit]

OCTA operates 77 bus lines, encompassing every city in Orange County. Some of the lines serve the Los Angeles County border communities of Lakewood, La Mirada, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens and Long Beach along with express service to Los Angeles, Diamond Bar, the California cities of Chino Hills and Chino and the Riverside County cities of Riverside and Corona.

  • 1-99 are the fixed routes that cover almost every city in Orange County. Buses operate on most major arterial streets. Route 1 is a "special case" in that it is the only single-digit route, acquiring the number from the Pacific Coast Highway (California State Route 1) and internally to the transit authority (as it was when it was operated by OCTD) the route number is 95.
  • 100-199 routes descended from the old RunAbout service that formerly served residential neighborhoods, or provide service to portions of 1-99 routes which have reduced demand. Three routes (129, 143, 153) are routes that were truncated from routes 29, 43, 47, 53 and 59 as a result of the March 2010 service changes.
  • 200-299 routes are intra-county express routes which travel solely within Orange County and utilize the county's freeways. These routes run from park-and-rides and transit terminals to the business districts and back. These routes operate only during weekday rush hours and do not operate reverse-peak services.
  • 400-499 routes are the StationLink routes, Metrolink shuttles which travel from the Metrolink stations to business districts and vice versa. These routes operate only during weekday rush hours and do not operate reverse peak services.
  • 700-799 routes are intercounty express routes. Lines 701 and 721 go from the cities of Huntington Beach and Fullerton, respectively, to Downtown Los Angeles using the Harbor Freeway Transitway, while Lines 757 connects Downtown Santa Ana with the city of Pomona, Line 758 connects the city of Irvine to Chino and Line 794 connects the city of Costa Mesa to Riverside. All five inter-county express routes charge an additional fare in addition to the base fare. These routes operate only during weekday rush hours and route 721 is the only inter-county express route that operates reverse peak services between Fullerton and Downtown Los Angeles.

Some routes operate short turn trips which either start or end in the middle of the route.

All OCTA buses are equipped with bike racks and can carry a maximum of two bicycles at any given time. Bikes are only permitted on board buses if both racks on any particular bus are taken and that same bus happens to be the last trip of the day.

South Coast Plaza is the most served attraction on the OCTA routes, served by 12 routes (51, 55, 57, 76, 86, 145, 172, 173, 211, 216, 464, 794). The longest is route 1, (Long BeachSan Clemente) which utilizes Pacific Coast Highway for the vast majority of its route of over 40 miles. Trips take an average of 2 to 2.5 hours.

Routes 43, 50, 57, and 60 were four routes that formerly operated 24 hours a day. "Night Owl" service, from 1 a.m to 4 a.m., was dropped on March 14, 2010 due to budget cutbacks. OCTA also eliminated routes 62, 74, 75, 131, 147, and 164 and reduced frequency of trips in March 2010 to save money.[6]

Roster[edit]

Current[edit]

OCTA's cutaways are excluded from this list.

Make/
Model
Year Numbers
(Quantity Ordered)
Engine/
Transmission
Fuel Propulsion Assigned Divisions Notes
NFI
D40LF
1997-98 5301-5397, 5401-5418
(115 buses)
Diesel
  • Repowered from Detroit Diesel Series 50
  • Most units retired in 2009
  • Several units in reserve fleet as of December 2010, same amount in storage and now in active service
NABI
40-LFW
2000 2101–2161
(61 buses)
LNG
NFI
D60LF
2000 7301-7320
(20 buses)
Diesel Repowered from Detroit Diesel Series 50 engines
NABI
40-LFW
2001 2201–2299, 2301–2372
(171 buses)
LNG
NFI
D60LF
2001 7401-7420
(20 buses)
Diesel
NFI
GE40LF
2005 5421-5422
(2 buses)
  • Ford Triton V10 6.8L
    • ISE Thundervolt hybrid system
Hybrid
  • Sold to Long Beach Transit and re-numbred to #2521-2522
NFI
C40LFR
2007-2009 5501-5599, 5601-5678
(177 buses)
5501-5599, 5601-5674: Cummins C Gas Plus

5675-5678: Cummins ISL G

CNG
  • 5501 is a 2006 unit.
NFI
C40LFR
2007–2008 7501-7592
(92 buses)
7501-7528: Cummins C Gas Plus

7529-7592: Cummins ISL G

CNG
NFI
C40LFR
2008 5121-5150
(40 buses)
CNG
  • Suburban config
NFI
XN60
2013 7601-7620
(20 buses)
CNG
  • First Articulated bus order since 2001
  • Currently being delivered
  • First CNG Articulated bus that OCTA ordered

Fares[edit]

As of 9 February 2014:[7]

Fare Type Regular Senior/Disabled/Medicare Express
One Way $2 $0.75 $6
Day Pass $5 $1.50 $12

Prepaid Fares[edit]

Discounted prepaid passes are available at local grocery stores and retailers. As of 9 February 2014:[8]

Fare Type Regular Senior/Disabled/Medicare Express (Routes 701, 721 and 794) OC Express (Routes 757 & 758)
Day Pass $4.50 $1.35
5 Rides Pass $9
Seven Day Pass $25 $8.25
30 Day Pass $69 $22.25 $187.50 $125

CenterLine light rail[edit]

Original 1999 proposed route for CenterLine from Fullerton to Irvine. Later, a truncated "starter line" from Santa Ana to Irvine was proposed

The CenterLine, a 9.3-mile light rail system serving Irvine, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana, was originally planned in the 1990s and was intended to open in 2009. Costing $1 billion, it was originally envisioned as a 30-mile route that would run from Fullerton to Irvine, through Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana and Costa Mesa. The route would have served destinations including John Wayne Airport, South Coast Metro, South Coast Plaza, Santa Ana College and downtown Santa Ana.

While OCTA secured funding through Measure M, lack of support from Orange County's congressional representatives resulted in no federal funds obtained for the proposed transit line. In February 2005, the CenterLine was suspended indefinitely and later in May 2005, the plan was officially scrapped in favor of expanding express bus service throughout Orange County and improving existing Metrolink commuter rail service.

Highway and road operations[edit]

OCTA is responsible for the Countywide Master Highway Plan, which designates major arterial streets in the county, however, all road maintenance responsibilities fall with the city where the street operates in, or with the county, in the case of unincorporated areas. OCTA street funding is steered towards roadways on the Master Plan in recognition of their role in regional travel.

Recent projects[edit]

West County Connectors: In June 2010, OCTA broke ground on the West County Connectors project. The $328 million project is Orange County's largest stimulus project and one of the biggest construction jobs in nearly a decade. It will add a 6-mile carpool lane and directly connect the carpool lanes on the San Diego Freeway (I-405) with the San Gabriel Freeway (I-605) and the Garden Grove Freeway (State Route 22). The project also improveed and rebuilt three freeway overpasses at Valley View Street, Seal Beach Boulevard and the 7th Street Bridge into Long Beach.

Riverside Freeway (SR-91): This project added a new eastbound lane between the SR-241 in Orange County to the SR-71 in Riverside County, widening bridges and building new retaining and sound walls to reduce traffic noise.

This was the first project in a series of improvements planned for the SR-91. The second project added a new lane in each direction from the SR-55 to SR-241. The third project will add a new westbound lane from SR-57 to Interstate 5. The project is expected to be completed in 2015.

Orange Freeway (SR-57): Work got started in the summer 2011 on the SR-57 to add a new northbound lane from Orangethorpe Avenue to Lambert. The project was completed in early 2014. Another project, which will added a new northbound lane from Katella Avenue to Lincoln Avenue, got underway in early 2012 and will by completed by late 2014.

I-5 Gateway Project: Construction began in spring 2006 on the I-5 Gateway project. The four-year project is widening the remaining two miles of the I-5 in Orange County from the SR-91 to the Los Angeles County line. The I-5 Gateway project is the final link in the original Measure M's freeway improvement program. The projected was completed in 2010.

In addition to freeway improvements, OCTA is in the midst of the most comprehensive rail safety program in the nation that includes a public awareness program regarding safety near the tracks and implementing safety enhancements at more than 50 railroad crossings throughout the county.

The safety enhancements scheduled for completion in 2011 include: • Upgrades to warning devices in place to advise drivers of train tracks ahead • Additional gate arms to prevent drivers and pedestrians from crossing the tracks when the gates are lowered and a train is passing • Extended and raised medians to deter drivers from passing around lowered gates • Coordinated local traffic signals to prevent vehicles from stalling on the tracks

Work also is under way to expand Metrolink service in Orange County from the Fullerton to a Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo station.

91 Express Lanes[edit]

OCTA owns and operates the 91 Express Lanes after purchasing them in 2003 from the California Private Transportation Corporation. The express lanes are a four-lane, 10-mile toll road in the median of the Riverside Freeway (SR-91) between the Orange/Riverside County line and the Costa Mesa Freeway (SR-55).

OCTA purchased the 91 Express Lanes without taxpayer money and removed a "non-compete" clause that prevented safety and traffic flow improvements along the stretch of tollway.

In July, 2003, OCTA adopted a toll policy for the 91 Express Lanes based on the concept of congestion management pricing, which is designed to optimize traffic flow at free-flow speeds. The policy calls for dropping and raising tolls based on traffic demand. Traffic volumes are monitored daily and adjusted quarterly.

The other tollways in Orange County are governed by the Transportation Corridor Agencies.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]