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Officials approve plan for OCTA cuts

March 24, 2009 7:11:35 AM PDT
The Orange County Transportation Authority approved a plan on Monday to cut about 400,000 hours of bus service by June of 2010, which will result in the layoff of nearly 400 bus drivers, maintenance workers and supervisors.It amounts to about a 20 percent reduction in service.

The cuts are in addition to the more than 130,000 hours already reduced from bus service that will affect about 26 routes this June.

Officials said they realize the cuts may make travel difficult for those who depend on buses, but they said due to the loss of funding, they simply can't maintain the same level of service.

The OCTA is expecting a $272 million decrease in funding over the next five years.

"The state, in its current budget crisis, took away our only ongoing source of transit funding," said Joel Zlotnik from OCTA.

Riders may not see the effect of the new cuts for a few months. The new round of bus service cuts will be phased in, starting in September. Authorities have not determined which route will be affected.

Union officials said about a quarter-million bus riders will be affected by the cuts in service, mostly the working poor.

For Santiago Arceo, what should be a 15-minute bus ride to work, often takes 45 minutes to more than an hour. With the pending reductions in bus service, he's worried his commute may take even longer.

"It was nicer when, a bus runs on time, you know, it's reliable," Arceo said. "Now, well, show up an hour, two hours early just to get to work on time, and then get home two hours later than normal."


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