3 Orange County Transportation Authority

Orange County Transportation Authority

Orange County Transportation Authority
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 591
Fuel type Diesel, Gas-electric, CNG, LNG
Operator OCTA, MV Transportation, Veolia Transportation
Web site 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 ridership gains in the bus and the Metrolink commuter trains that it operates or funds. OCTA also operates the 91 Express Lanes.

The Authority's administrative offices are located in Orange and it maintains bus operations bases in Anaheim, Garden Grove, and Santa Ana. A paratransit base operated by Veolia Transportation for the authority's ACCESS service is located on Construction Circle in Irvine, While a number of fixed routes are operated by MV Transportation, out of the Sand Canyon Yard, also in Irvine.



OCTA's predecessor agency, Orange County Transit District, was created in August 1972 by a vote of the people of Orange County. 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 fifteen 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 freeway miles in 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

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. The 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 a 60-day period, 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


OCTA operates 77 bus lines, encompassing every city in Orange County. Some of the lines serve the Los Angeles County communities of Lakewood, La Mirada, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens and Long Beach along with express service to Los Angeles, Diamond Bar, the San Bernardino County 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.
  • 100-199 routes descended from the old RunAbout service that formerly served residential neighborhoods. Some routes are pieces of pre-2000 longer routes shortened during Straightlining. 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. Metrolink fareholders ride free on the StationLink routes (as with all OCTA bus routes) but otherwise regular fare is charged. 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 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 Costa Mesa to Riverside. All five intercounty 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 intercounty 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 onboard 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 2-2.5 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 frequencey of trips in March 2010 to save money.[6]



OCTA's cutaways are excluded from this list.

Fleet number range Picture Year Manufacturer Model Fuel Engine Transmission Notes
5301-5397, 5401-5418 [2]


1997-98 NFI D40LF Diesel Cummins ISC-280 Allison B400R6
  • 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
2101–2161 [4] 2000 NABI 40-LFW LNG Cummins ISL G Allison B400R6
7301-7320 [5] 2000 NFI D60LF Diesel Cummins ISL-330 Allison B400R6 Repowered from Detroit Diesel Series 50 engines
2201–2299, 2301–2372 [6]


2001 NABI 40-LFW LNG Cummins ISL G Allison B400R6
7401-7420 2001 NFI D60LF Diesel Cummins ISL-330 Allison B400R6
5421-5422 2005 NFI GE40LF Hybrid Ford Triton V10 6.8L ISE Thundervolt hybrid system
5501-5599, 5601-5678 [8]


2007–2008 NFI C40LFR CNG 5501-5599, 5601-5674: Cummins C Gas Plus

5675-5678: Cummins ISL G

Allison B400R6
  • 5501 is a 2006 unit.
7501-7592 [10] 2007–2008 NFI C40LFR CNG 7501-7528: Cummins C Gas Plus

7529-7592: Cummins ISL G

Allison B400R6
5121-5150 [11] 2008 NFI C40LFR CNG Cummins ISL G Allison B400R6
  • Suburban config


Fare Type Regular Senior Express
One Way $1.50 $.60 $4.50
Day Pass $4.00 $1.25 $9.00

CenterLine light rail

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 USD, 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

OCTA is responsible for the Countywide Master Highway Plan, which designates major arterial streets in the County, However, all road maintenance responsibilities are with the city where the street operates in, or 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.

Current projects

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 Garden Grove Freeway (SR-22). The project also will improve and rebuild three freeway overpasses at Valley View Street, Seal Beach Boulevard and the 7th Street Bridge into Long Beach.

Riverside Freeway (SR-91): Construction also is under way on the SR-91. This project is adding 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 sounds walls to reduce traffic noise. Construction started in November 2009 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

This is the first project in a series of improvements planned for the SR-91. Future improvements include adding a new lane in each direction from the SR-55 to SR-241.

Orange Freeway (SR-57): Work is expected to get started this summer on the SR-57, which will add a new northbound lane from Orangethorpe to Lambert. Construction is expected to begin this summer. The second segment of the widening project, from Katella Avenue to Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim is scheduled to begin construction in summer 2011.

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 and is scheduled to be completed in fall 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 allowing a train to pass • 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 Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo station. The expanded service will be rolled out over the next five years, depending on ridership and available operating funds

Many additional projects are planned for the future. Information can be found at OCTA's website, www.octa.net.

91 Express Lanes

OCTA owns and operates the 91 Express Lanes after purchasing them in 2003 from the California Private Transportation Corporation. The 91 Express Lanes is 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 dollars 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.

Since OCTA purchased the lanes, more than $10 million from the express lane revenue has gone toward improvements to the R-91, including $6.6 million for the SR-91 eastbound lane addition project.

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


See also

  • List of OCTA Routes


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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