It has been one year since OCTA initiated its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and placed additional emphasis on the agency’s core safety value to help ensure the health of employees, riders and the community as a whole. Following the state’s stay-at-home order in mid-March 2020, OCTA quickly adjusted OC Bus schedules to continue providing a safe, reliable travel option for essential workers. To accomplish this, OCTA activated its emergency response efforts and successfully transitioned OCTA administrative employees to work remotely. OCTA also put workplace safety measures in place so employees could continue providing critical services and projects.
Despite the unprecedented challenges in the months that followed, OCTA never faltered in its commitment to deliver a safe, balanced and sustainable transportation system to Orange County’s 34 cities and 3.2 million residents.
Work continued on advancing projects promised to voters through OC Go, also known as Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. Among these were improvements to the I-405, I-5 in South County, and completing the I-5 Central County Improvements Project – four months ahead of schedule.
Other notable accomplishments included laying the first tracks and continuing to build the OC Streetcar in Santa Ana and Garden Grove, funding street improvements and enhancing the OC Bus system.
OCTA also continued on the path to establishing a zero-emission bus fleet, debuting the largest transit-oriented hydrogen fueling station in the nation and approving a separate pilot program for 10 plug-in battery-electric buses.
When the pandemic hit, OCTA capitalized on years of planning to quickly transition to remote work and virtual meetings. All Board and committee meetings were conducted virtually beginning in March 2020. More than 500 administration employees smoothly transitioned to working remotely due in large part to extensive crisis planning, a remote-work pilot program, and a years-long effort toward cloud computing. “This past year has reinforced how critically important it is for every person in Orange County to have accessible, affordable and convenient transportation,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson. “For healthcare, for employment, for education and recreation, for our county to thrive, we must continue working together to keep Orange County moving.” As Orange County moves forward to brighter and healthier days, when riding the bus please continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and follow other health and safety guidelines.