OCTA continues to adjust its operations to protect the health and safety of employees and the public while continuing to deliver essential services.
Adjustments to the OC Bus service reflect a sharp decline in ridership since the public health crisis began. At the same time, construction projects have been accelerated because there is less traffic on roads and freeways following the state’s stay-at-home orders.
“Similar to businesses and agencies everywhere, we’re finding it necessary to be exceedingly flexible in these unprecedented times,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson. “With solid Board of Directors policy and direction, advanced planning for a potential crisis, and the dedication of employees, OCTA is well-positioned for dealing with this situation.”
Nearly 600 OCTA administrative employees have transitioned to working remotely and OCTA board and committee meetings are now being held by teleconference, with less than 10 staff in a boardroom that holds 150. The public can participate by listening to the meetings online and providing comments to the Clerk of the Board via e-mail. Additionally, more than 400 employees continue to provide essential service at the bus bases and on the regular bus routes, which are operating with reduced service hours.
While the financial impacts of the crisis are largely unknown, OCTA is monitoring the loss of bus fare revenue and the loss of tax revenue from Measure M, also known as OC Go, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, and the state’s Transportation Development Act, a quarter-cent tax that supports transit services.
Strong planning and healthy reserves mean that all current projects through OC Go are currently able to continue as planned. OCTA has maintained a conservative investment portfolio, which has resulted in the agency being well-positioned to withstand the crisis.
OCTA will continue to offer competitive grant funding to cities and the county and will work to ensure that they can meet OC Go funding guidelines so important street improvements and local transit projects can continue moving forward.
OCTA also continues to actively communicate with its federal and state governmental and transportation partners to ensure that OCTA fulfills its mission to keep Orange County moving.