Life Without Measure R: Massive Transit Cuts in Orange County
Earlier today the Orange County Transit Authority's Board of Directors voted, by a 14-1 margin, to cut 150,000 hours of transit service by early next year. Believe it or not, the plan was actually an improvement from an earlier draft of the cuts had 300,000 hours of service. The Register describes the cuts:
Eliminated routes include service from Seal Beach to Westminster and Brea to Santa Ana on weekdays. Service from Huntington Beach to Costa Mesa will be eliminated on weekends.
Midday service from Fullerton to Huntington Beach will be eliminated on weekdays. The plan eliminates about 8 percent of the county's bus service by early next year. Eight routes will be restructured and the frequency of service would be reduced on 11 routes on the weekdays.
While transit advocates, such as the outstanding writers at Transit Rider O.C., have focused their advocacy efforts at the Board of Directors; the fiscal mess at the state level and the Governor's illegal desire to raid transit funds to alleviate said mess made today's vote a decision on where to make cuts not if to make cuts. That's not to say the OCTA, a group that has never met a road-widening project that it didn't love is blameless; it's just that decisions made to basically liquidate the voter-approved state operating assistance fund have left transit agencies in the lurch statewide. Locally, Measure R may forestall local cuts, but that's not to say that they won't be coming sooner, rather than later.
As is normally the case, the biggest victims of the cuts are students, people of lesser means, the transit dependent and late night workers. With today's cuts totaling 8% of OCTA's total service hours. To their credit, advocates and just regular riders packed the Board Room today to speak their piece about the cuts. While their pleas didn't change the outcome, hopefully these same people will remember today when it comes time to vote on their state leadership next year.