Officials from OCTA, Santa Ana College, and Santiago Canyon College gathered at the Santa Ana campus on September 15 with students and community members to mark the launch of a new pilot program that allows nearly 42,000 students to take unlimited rides on OC Bus.
The three-year pilot program allows every full and part-time student from Santa Ana College and Continuing Education students from Santa Ana Community College and Santiago Community College to take unlimited rides on OCTA’s fixed-route bus service with a valid student ID. Developed by OCTA, the program is the first of its kind in Orange County. The first year is funded by a grant from the state’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP), part of the state’s cap-and-trade program implemented to help reduce greenhouse gases that pollute the environment. The second and third years will be paid by Santa Ana College student fees and the Rancho Santiago Community College District.
The program encourages the use of public transportation through the OC Bus system and helps take cars off of the road.
OCTA officials in attendance included OCTA Chairman Michael Hennessey, Directors Andrew Do and Tim Shaw, and CEO Darrell Johnson.
“Yes, there is such a thing as a free ride and it’s now available to thousands of students to take them back and forth to school and anywhere else they want to travel in Orange County,” said Chairman Hennessey. “Our hope is that this kind of innovative program will help many more people discover the benefits of public transportation and make them want to ride the bus for years to come.”
Located near Bristol and 17th Street, Santa Ana College is served by the busiest bus routes in Orange County. Santa Ana has the fifth densest population of any city larger than 300,000 residents in the United States.