In May, Santa Ana College students voted to approve a three-year pilot program that will provide unlimited bus rides for all students. During the first year, the program will be free; during the second and third years, each semester full-time students will pay $6.75 and part-time students will pay $5.75 for unlimited rides on fixed-route buses. The program will launch in the fall.
OCTA proposed the concept to Santa Ana College as part of its OC Bus 360° strategy to increase bus ridership, and 85 percent of the college’s student body approved it.
“A lot of our neighboring jurisdictions have worked with community colleges to do a similar plan like this, but the student body has to vote it in and they voted it in,” OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson said. “We’re very excited about that.”
The pilot program offers substantial savings compared to OCTA’s already discounted college pass program, which provides 120 days of ridership for $185. Regular fares on OC Bus are $2 per ride and $5 for a day pass.
Direct OC Bus routes serving the college include 57/57/Xpress Brea to Newport Beach, 60 Long Beach to Tustin, 64/64Xpress Huntington Beach to Tustin, 150 Santa Ana to Costa Mesa and 560 Santa Ana to Long Beach. Numerous connecting routes also serve the area.
The first year of the bus plan will be subsidized through a grant from the state cap-and-trade Low Carbon Transit Operations Program that provides funds to public transportation agencies for operations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The program is expected to provide a cost-effective daily transportation alternative for students as they travel throughout Orange County for school, work, shopping, and entertainment.