By Eric Heinz
On Monday, Feb. 22, the Orange County Transportation Authority approved the adoption of its new Bus Service Plan that calls for the October elimination of two bus routes through San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano.
Lori Donchak, the chairwoman of the OCTA Board of Directors and a San Clemente city councilwoman, said there are alternatives for people who utilize those routes throughout the three cities, and the OCTA is looking to hold workshops in the near future with members of the public.
The 191 runs from The Shops at Mission Viejo to the San Juan Capistrano Metrolink Station and Avenida Junipero Serra in San Juan Capistrano. It then travels through Capistrano Beach with stops at Doheny Park Road and Domingo Avenue and along Camino Capistrano at Avenida Las Palmas and Camino de Estrella and then into the San Clemente area.
The 193 route runs through San Clemente from the Metrolink Station into Talega and back down into Capistrano Beach.
Service enhancements to the routes on the Bus Service Plan countywide will begin in June.
Donchak said there are some alternatives in the works to give people options in the interim before certain service routes are reduced.
“We’re extending the hours of the (Same-Day Taxi Program) and implementing a countywide pilot program that decreases the same-day taxi transfer costs,” Donchak said during a phone interview later that day.
The extended Same-Day Taxi Program for ACCESS users would also include an elimination of the $3.60 transfer cost between the Same-Day Taxi and the regular ACCESS service. ACCESS is the OCTA’s shared ride service for people with disabilities that prevent them from using regular bus service routes.
Donchak said the entire Bus Service Plan intends to increase the OCTA’s ridership countrywide to 1.3 million over the next three years.
The 91 bus route, which travels from San Clemente to Laguna Hills along the Pacific Coast Highway, will see no changes in service from the Bus Plan.
According to an OCTA press release, county bus services have lost more than 20 million passengers, a reduction of 30 percent, since 2008.
The dates of future community meetings and availability of information will be announced by OCTA.
Donchak said residents can contact her at 949.361.8322 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. The Bus Service Plan and a schedule of service reductions can be found online at www.octa.net/Bus/Final-2016-Service-Change.