Fewer bus rides equal more frustration for students

In Campus News, Local News, News, Top Stories
Because of the economic downturn, more and more signs marked urgent are posted. Photo by Christa Connelly/Daily Titan Photo Editor

As of March 14, a local manifestation of the economic downturn taking its toll on public transportation is easily visible.

The OCTA (Orange County Transportation Authority) bus line has reduced the frequency of buses on certain routes as well as the night owl routes, running from 1 – 4 a.m.
Some routes have been eliminated all together. Changes in service took affect on Sunday and students at Cal State Fullerton are able to see the immediate changes that have occurred.
A loss of state funding for public transportation caused OCTA to have to reduce or eliminate the buses that are not used as much. Although this might not be seen as a problem to some students, it will mean a lot of change to others.
Maria Montes, 19, an undeclared major, depends on the buses for her transportation to and from school. Living in Laguna Hills, it takes Montes two hours to get to and from CSUF.

With the new changes to the routes that she usually takes, Montes has already missed a class. “(I) missed the second one, and knew I wasn’t going to make it (on time) so I went back (home).”

Along with missing buses because of a new schedule, Montes said that she also had to take an extra bus. “One of my buses would go to Laguna Hills to Santa Ana. Instead of two I have to take three buses now.”
The recent service changes were discussed last November in a meeting with the OCTA committee.

In the meeting many students and bus riders voiced their concerns pertaining to the changes. Many of the concerns were of the inconvenience of people who depend on the bus as their sole means of transportation.

The OCTA Web site has a list of new renovations, along with a brief explanation for the recent changes. Notices marked “URGENT” were placed with route times to inform riders of the changes.

Despite these notices, some riders did not know of the change until recently.

Zsareina Pouliot, 26, a graphic design major, said that she knew about the changes for a week. Pouliot rides the bus three times a week and said that the changes made in the routes have not yet affected her since it has been less than a week.

Bus route 24, which Pouliot usually takes, was affected, leaving her to look more often for other forms of transportation, like a bike or a ride from her boyfriend.

With the weekend line being eliminated from the 24 route, which is used by students attending Cal State Fullerton, some students are not going to be able to come to campus at all.

Durgabrasad Kottary, 25, an electrical engineering major, lives in Cerritos and said that due to the elimination of the number 24 weekend route, he is not going to be able to come to campus at all on the weekend.

Kottary also mentioned that because of the changes in the routes a lot of time is wasted; whether it’s waiting for the buses when you miss one, or waiting to catch a different bus.

“Time is money,” Kottary said. He thinks that even if he had to pay more for the buses to be frequent, he would not oppose it. “(The) bus stopping at 8 (p.m.) is an issue because if you have class that is late, that would be an issue because of the bus stopping early.”

OCTA will also be adding new routes and reconstructing some of their recent routes.

Stated on OCTA’s Web site, their goal with the changes, “Is to preserve as much bus service as possible given the available reduced funds.”

Although the changes have caused increasing difficulty for customers, OCTA claims to be attempting to accommodate its riders by reconstructing and adding new routes.

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