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The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is the public sector transportation planning body and mass transit service provider for Orange County, Californiamarker. Its ancestor agencies include not only the prior Orange County Transit District but also such diverse entities as the Pacific Electric Railroad and the South Coast Transit Corporation. In 2005, OCTA was judged America's Best Public Transportation System by the American Public Transportation Association, for its record ridership gains in the bus and the Metrolink commuter trains that it operates or funds. OCTA also operates the 91 Express Lanes.

The Authority's administrative offices are located in Orangemarker and it maintains bus operations bases in Anaheimmarker, Garden Grovemarker, and Santa Anamarker. A paratransit base operated by Veolia Transportation for the authority's ACCESS service is located on Construction Circle in Irvinemarker, While a number of fixed routes are operated by MV Transportation, out of the Sand Canyon Yard, also in Irvine.


In 1991, OCTA was created under state law combining the Orange County agencies that managed transportation planning (Orange County Transportation Commission), Park-and-ride facilities, public transportation (what was then the Orange County Transit District), and other transportation related administrative offices into one organization. OCTA administers funds from Measure M, the half cent transportation sales tax. Measure M was originally passed in 1990, and was renewed in 2006. It has has paid for expansion on most freeway miles in Orange County, street improvements and repairs, traffic signal synchronization, and increased Metrolink service.

OCTA suffered tremendously during the 1995 Orange County bankruptcy. The agency lost $202 million in revenue over 17 years due to the bankruptcy. As a result, bus service was reduced.

In 2000, OCTA embarked on a bus restructuring effort dubbed Straightlining, later renamed Point to Point. The goal of Straightlining was to better utilize funding for the bus system by eliminating long deviations and keeping buses on major streets instead of through neighborhoods. Routes were straightened out and almost every route in the system was changed in September 2000. However, the project failed spectacularly, as ridership dropped due to the increased number of transfers required, while paradoxically overcrowding on some routes increased because OCTA failed to plan for higher ridership along its core routes. In addition, the implementation of Straightlining was problematic as over 100 schedule changes were required in the three months immediately following implementation. Politically, problems occurred such as removing service to the local Braille Institute, which was rescinded before implementation. In the end, many routes were re-combined and deviations reinstated.

Labor disputes

OCTA (including the former OCTD) has been involved in various labor disputes between itself and its drivers, members of the Teamsters Union Local 952, including strikes in 1986 and 2007.

In April 2007, drivers threatened to strike again over the current contract. The OCTA offered a 13% raise over three years, but union sources said that it only came out to 8% after factoring in inflation. The drivers voted to strike. California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger intervened. He first issued a one-week cool-off, and later extended it to a 60-day period, while talks continued. Negotiations over wage and pension issues failed, and the union started to strike on July 7, 2007, at the end of the cooling-off period. This conflict was resolved on 16 July 2007 when the union ratified a new contract. Within a few days, the bus system was running at full capability.

Formative agencies

Orange County Transit District (OCTD)

Orange County Transit District was created in August 1972 by a vote of the people of Orange County, originally starting with five buses operating routing for what was until then known as Santa Ana Transit, and later that year bringing in other surrounding city transit agencies. The routing system was formed over the course of about fifteen years, and was held in place until the merge.


OCTA operates approximately 80 lines which encompass every city in Orange County, along with the Los Angeles County communities of Lakewoodmarker, La Miradamarker, Cerritosmarker, Hawaiian Gardensmarker, and Long Beachmarker, along with express service to Los Angelesmarker, Diamond Barmarker, the San Bernardino Countymarker cities of Chino Hillsmarker and Chinomarker and the Riverside Countymarker cities of Riversidemarker and Coronamarker.

  • The double digit routes (and route 1) are the fixed routes that cover almost every city in Orange County. Buses operate on most major arterial streets.
  • 1xx routes are descended from the old RunAbout service that used to serve residential neighborhoods. Most of these routes use smaller buses. Some routes are pieces of pre-2000 longer routes shortened during Straightlining, and use full size buses.
  • 2xx routes are intra-county freeway routes which utilize OC freeways. These routes run from park-and-rides and transit terminals to the business districts and back.
  • 4xx routes are the Metrolink shuttles which go from the Metrolink stations to business districts and vice versa. Metrolink fareholders ride free on these buses (as they do all OCTA buses), but otherwise regular fare is charged.
  • 6xx routes are very similar to 4xx routes. Most of the lines only run on weekends. Currently, there is only one in service, the 686.
  • 7xx routes are express routes. Lines 701 and 721 go from Huntington Beachmarker and Fullertonmarker respectively to Downtown Los Angelesmarker using the Harbor Freeway Transitway, while Lines 757 connects Santa Anamarker with the city of Pomonamarker, Line 758 connects the city of Irvinemarker to Chinomarker, and Line 794 connects Costa Mesamarker to Riversidemarker. Line 701, 721 and 794 charge a premium fare, while the 757 and 758 do not.

Some routes operate short turn trips which either start or end in the middle of the route. Those trips say Short Trip on the headsign, followed by the final destination.

Most buses are equipped with bike racks and can carry a maximum of two bicycles at any given time, while some smaller buses operating on shorter routes do not have bike racks.

South Coast Plazamarker is the most served attraction on the OCTA routes, served by 12 routes (51, 55, 57, 76, 86, 145, 172, 173, 211, 216, 464, 794). The longest is route 1, (Long Beachmarker-San Clementemarker) which utilizes Pacific Coast Highway for the vast majority of its route of over 40 miles. Trips take an average of 2-2.5 hours. Several routes, including 2xx, 4xx, and 7xx series, do not operate on weekends or holidays. Routes 43, 50, 57, and 60 are part of the "Night Owl" service and run 24 hours a day.

Route List

  • 1 Long Beach-San Clemente
  • 20 La Habra-Yorba Linda
  • 21 Fullerton-Huntington Beach via Valley View St.
  • 24 Fullerton-Orange
  • 25 Fullerton-Huntington Beach via Knott Ave.
  • 26 Fullerton-Yorba Linda
  • 29 Brea-Huntington Beach
  • 30 Cerritos-Anaheim
  • 33 Fullerton-Huntington Beach via Magnolia St.
  • 35 Fullerton Huntington Beach via Brookhurst St.
  • 37 La Habra-Fountain Valley
  • 38 Lakewood-Anaheim Hills
  • 42 Seal Beach-Orange
  • 43 La Habra-Costa Mesa
  • 46 Los Alamitos-Orange
  • 47 Brea-Newport Beach via Brea Blvd.
  • 50 Long Beach-Orange
  • 51 Santa Ana-Costa Mesa via Flower St.
  • 53 Brea-Irvine via Main St.
  • 54 Garden Grove-Orange via Chapman Ave.
  • 55 Santa Ana-Newport Beach
  • 56 Garden Grove-Orange via Garden Grove Blvd.
  • 57 Brea-Newport Beach via State College Blvd.
  • 59 Brea-Irvine via Kraemer Blvd.
  • 60 Long Beach-Tustin
  • 62 Huntington Beach-Santa Ana
  • 64 Huntington Becah-Tustin
  • 66 Huntington Beach-Irvine via McFadden Ave.
  • 70 Sunset Beach-Dana Point
  • 71 Yorba Linda-Balboa
  • 72 Sunset Beach-Tustin
  • 74 Fountain Valley-Irvine
  • 75 Tustin-Newport Beach via Harvard Ave.
  • 76 Huntington Beach-Newport Beach
  • 79 Tustin-Newport Beach via Irvine Blvd.
  • 82 Foothill Ranch-Laguna Niguel
  • 83 Anaheim-Laguna Hills
  • 85 Mission Viejo-Dana Point
  • 86 Costa Mesa-Mission Viejo
  • 87 Rancho Santa Margarita-Laguna Niguel
  • 89 Mission Viejo-Laguna Beach
  • 91 Laguna Hills-San Clemente
  • 131 Yorba Linda-Orange
  • 145 Santa Ana-Costa Mesa via Riatt St.
  • 147 Brea-Santa Ana
  • 164 Seal Beach-Westminster
  • 167 Anaheim-Irvine
  • 172 Huntington Beach-Costa Mesa via Main St.
  • 173 Huntington Beach-Costa Mesa via Atlanta Ave.
  • 175 Irvine
  • 177 Foothill Ranch-Laguna Hills
  • 178 Huntington Beach-Irvine via Adams Ave.
  • 187 Laguna Hills-Dana Point
  • 188 Laguna Hills-Irvine
  • 191 Mission Viejo-San Clemente
  • 193 Dana Point-San Clemente
  • 206 Santa Ana-Lake Forest Express
  • 211 Seal Beach-Irvine Express
  • 212 Irvine-San Juan Capistrano Express
  • 213 Brea-Irvine Express
  • 216 San Juan Capistrano-Costa Mesa Express
  • 410 Anaheim Canyon Metrolink Station-Anaheim
  • 411 Anaheim Canyon Metrolink Station-Canyon Corperate Center
  • 430 Anaheim Canyon Metrolink Station-Resort Area
  • 453 Orange Transportation Center-St. Joseph's Hospital
  • 454 Orange Transportation Center-Garden Grove
  • 462 The Depot at Santa Ana-Civic Center
  • 463 The Depot at Santa Ana-Hutton Centre
  • 464 The Depot at Santa Ana-Costa Mesa
  • 472/473- Tustin Metrolink Station-John Wayne Airport
  • 480 Irvine Transportation Center-Lake Forest
  • 482 Irvine Transportation Center-Irvine Center
  • 483 Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Metrolink Station-Aliso Viejo
  • 693 San Clemente
  • 701 Huntington Beach-Los Angeles Express
  • 721 Fullerton-Los Angeles Express
  • 757 Pomona-Santa Ana Express
  • 758 Chino-Irvine Spectrum Express
  • 794 Riverside/Corona-South Coast Metro Express


Fare Type Current Fare
Regular One Way $1.50
Regular Day Pass $4.00
Senior One Way $.60
Senior Day Pass $1.25

CenterLine light rail

The CenterLine, a 9.3-mile light rail system serving Irvinemarker, Costa Mesamarker and Santa Anamarker, was originally planned in the 1990s, and was intended to open in 2009. Costing $1 billion USD, the route would have served destinations including John Wayne Airportmarker, South Coast Metro, South Coast Plazamarker, Santa Ana College, and downtown Santa Ana. While OCTA had secured funding through Measure M, lack of support from most of Orange County's congressional representatives resulted in no funds from the Federal government. In February 2005, the CenterLine was suspended indefinitely, and later in May 2005, the plan was officially canceled in favor of researching express bus service throughout Orange County and improvements to Metrolink.

When the line was initially being planned, it was envisioned as a 30-mile route that would run from Fullertonmarker to Irvinemarker, through Anaheim, Orangemarker, Santa Ana, and Costa Mesa. However, a lack of public support led to numerous truncations; Orange was initially removed from the route, followed by Anaheim.

Bravo! service

OCTA's Bravo! service is a new approach to traditional bus service, similar to the Metro Rapid bus service in Los Angeles. Bravo! is designed to decrease travel time for customers and improve travel speed within high ridership corridors. Buses will offer frequent service weekdays only from approximately 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will have a distinct identity separate from standard OCTA buses. Regular bus fares will apply. Traffic signal synchronization will increase traffic flow through the corridors and will allow Bravo! buses to better serve new bus shelters with enhanced identity. The new bus shelters will display real-time bus arrival information, a convenient tool to help riders determine when their next bus will arrive.

The Harbor Boulevard Corridor, planned along Orange County's busiest bus route, is the first of three projects to be implemented by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) over the next two years. Service is scheduled to begin in June 2010. The goal for the Harbor Boulevard project is to decrease travel time for customers. Transit agencies that have implemented similar systems indicate that travel time for customers decreased by up to 20 percent. The Bravo! service on Harbor Boulevard will operate north/south along a 22-mile route that will link Fullerton, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. The Bravo! service will provide regional connections to Metrolink and AMTRAK rail services, and other OCTA bus services near the Fullerton Transportation Center. Bravo! service will also provide frequent connections to other OCTA bus services at stops along Harbor Boulevard.

The Bravo! service on Westminster/17th Street will operate east/west along a 20-mile route between Santa Ana and Long Beach, linking Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, Seal Beach, and Long Beach. This service is scheduled to be implemented in September 2010. The eastern terminal at The Depot at Santa Ana will provide direct connections to AMTRAK and Metrolink rail services, and other OCTA bus services.

The Bristol/State College Boulevard service is scheduled to begin service in December 2010 and will operate along a 30-mile route linking Brea, Fullerton, Anaheim, Orange, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, and Irvine. Beginning from the north, the corridor will travel along State College Boulevard, Bristol Street, and the I-405 to the Irvine Station.

Highway and road operations

OCTA is responsible for the Countywide Master Highway Plan, which designates major arterial streets in the County, However, all road maintenance responsibilities are with the city where the street operates in, or the County in the case of unincorporated areas. OCTA street funding is steered towards roadways on the Master Plan in recognition of their role in regional travel.

Current projects

In 2003, a budget crisis at the state level caused funds otherwise allocated for the expansion of the Garden Grove Freeway to be diverted to the resolution to the deficit; accordingly, OCTA took Measure M funds and self-funded the expansion. In summer of 2004, the contractor Granite Meyers-Rados (a joint venture between C. C. Meyers and Rados) was selected, and construction was started by December of that year. The expansion was completed in November 2006.

OCTA has completed carpool lanes and added some regular lanes on all other freeways. The last freeway widening to break ground is a short segment of the Santa Ana Freeway from the Riverside Freeway to the Los Angeles County line. There, the roadway will be expanded from three lanes in each direction to five (one carpool and four regular lanes). At the county line, the roadway will revert to three lanes in each direction, because the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has not allocated funding for the expansion in Los Angeles County.

91 Express Lanes

OCTA administers the 91 Express Lanes after purchasing them from the California Private Transportation Corporation. The roadway was purchased to extinguish a "non-compete" clause that prevented safety and traffic flow improvements along the ten mile stretch of tollway. The other tollways in Orange County are governed by the Transportation Corridor Agencies.


Image:OCTA_Bus_Stop_01.jpg|Route 60 Bus Stop at Newport & First in TustinImage:OCTA_Bus_Stop_02.jpg|Route 60 Bus Stop at Fairview & 17th in Santa AnaImage:OCTA_Bus_Stop_03.jpg|Route 1 Bus Stop near Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach at Night

Image:Newport_Transportation_Center_02.jpg|Newport Transportation Center in Newport BeachImage:Balboa_Peninsula_Bus_Stop_01.jpg|OCTA Bus Stop near Balboa Pier at NightImage:OCTA_Bus_Stop_04.jpg|Route 64 Bus Stop on Magnolia & Bolsa in Westminster at Night

Image:OCTA_Bus_View_01.jpg|View Inside a NABI bus (2XXX series)Image:OCTA_Bus_View_02.jpg|View Inside a New Flyer bus (55XX, 56XX or 75XX series)Image:OCTA_Bus_View_03.jpg|View of a Route 83 Bus

Image:OCTA_Bus_View_11.jpg|View of a Route 57 BusImage:OCTA_Bus_View_12.jpg|View inside of a Route 57 BusImage:OCTA_Bus_View_13.jpg|View of a Route 57 Bus


  1. [1]
  2. California State Auditor, Summary of Report No. 95121, 2/96
  3. "Coach Operator Strike Forces Major Reduction In Bus Service." OCTA press release, 7/7/07.
  4. "Orange County bus drivers strike after contract negotiations fail." San Jose Mercury News, 7/7/07.
  5. OCTA Board Approves Contract Ending Coach Operators’ Strike, OCTA press release, 7/16/07

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