OCTA Director Gregory T. Winterbottom, a pioneering advocate for transit equality, passed away at the end of June.
Director Winterbottom, who was 73, is being mourned by friends and colleagues throughout the transportation industry for his accomplished career serving the residents of Orange County and those throughout Southern California.
Winterbottom, himself a wheelchair user for more than 50 years, provided a valuable perspective and important viewpoint to issues regarding people with disabilities. He was a champion for projects and programs designed to ensure everyone had equal access to both transportation and public spaces, long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. His leadership and commitment to full access for all government services ensured that the county was ready for ADA in 1990.
“Greg’s commitment and dedication to serving the public was unmatched and he showed unwavering support for our employees, taking great pride in their professionalism,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson. “I worked with Greg for many years at OCTA and there was rarely a board or committee meeting, or public event that he missed. He was truly passionate about his mission and he’ll be sorely missed, not only for his contributions, but as a friend.”
He was OCTA’s longest-serving board member, having joined the OCTA board in 1993 as a public member. His unique and important viewpoint, and sensitivity to issues regarding people with disabilities, was a tremendous benefit to OCTA and leaves an immeasurable impact on Orange County.
He pioneered the Dial-A-Ride program to provide door-to-door transportation for wheelchair users and the elderly and managed the Consolidated Transportation Service Agency to provide empathetic, cost-effective transportation services for individuals with disabilities. These programs paved the way for OCTA’s ACCESS paratransit service, which records nearly 1.4 million boardings by eligible Orange County residents each year.
Throughout his tenure on the OCTA Board, Director Winterbottom staunchly advocated for the public and regularly attended OCTA’s Citizens Advisory Committee meetings to ensure the public had direct access to an OCTA board member.
His legacy of progress for all people, especially those with transportation challenges, is unmatched in Orange County.
For more on his life and career: octa.net/winterbottom