Octa's transportation blog

Celebrating 50 Years of Bus Service with Those Who Made It Happen

OCTA commemorated 50 years of public bus service in Orange County recently with an event attended by former board members and staff, including the first general manager of the bus system.

The gathering at the OCTA headquarters in Orange included a vintage 1972 bus with the original OCTD logo. The Orange County Transit District delivered bus service in Orange County prior to joining with six other transportation agencies in 1991 to form OCTA.

Pete Fielding, the first OCTD general manager, was on hand representing that era, when Richard Nixon was president and Atari introduced Pong as the first commercial video game.

Parked next to the half-century-old diesel bus was a modern zero-emission OCTA bus powered by hydrogen fuel-cell electricity, with power steering and air conditioning – all technological advancements made during the last 50 years.

After the event, additional small commemorations were conducted at each of the OCTA bus bases so all employees could mark the special occasion.

“Public transit service has come a long way since those early days of a handful of buses, growing into a thriving and vital public transit system that helps tens of thousands of residents, workers and visitors get where they need to be every day,” said OCTA Chairman Mark A. Murphy, also the Mayor of Orange. “That would not be possible without the hard work of hundreds of coach operators, maintenance workers, and operations staff who keep the county moving safely.”

OCTA launched the 50th anniversary commemoration earlier this month by offering free bus rides all day on Sept. 1. That day, ridership reached approximately 106,000 boardings, a record for the year.

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