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An Orange County Transportation Authority Bus on the 191/A route stops at the Metrolink Station in North Beach on Wednesday morning. The OCTA Board of Directors approved a plan to eliminate the 191 and 193 routes, which service riders from San Clemente to Mission Viejo, in October. Photo: Eric Heinz
An Orange County Transportation Authority Bus on the 191/A route stops at the Metrolink Station in North Beach on Wednesday morning. The OCTA Board of Directors approved a plan to eliminate the 191 and 193 routes, which service riders from San Clemente to Mission Viejo, in October. Photo: Eric Heinz

By Eric Heinz

On Monday, Feb. 22, the Orange County Transportation Authority approved the adoption of a new Bus Service Plan. The plan eliminates two bus routes that go through San Clemente, but they will not be discontinued until October.

Lori Donchak, the chairwoman of the OCTA Board of Directors and a San Clemente city councilwoman, said there are alternatives for people who use the bus throughout San Clemente, and the OCTA is looking to hold workshops in the near future with members of the public.

During the final moments before the vote, Donchak spoke about the decisions made in the Bus Service Plan.

The 191 runs from the Shops at Mission Viejo to the San Juan Capistrano Metrolink Station and Avenida Junipero Serra in San Juan Capistrano. It then travels to the Capistrano Beach Plaza to Camino Capistrano, up to Camino De Estrella and into the San Clemente area. The 193 route runs through San Clemente from the Metrolink Station, up into Talega and back down into Capistrano Beach.

These routes will be discontinued in October. Service enhancements to the routes on the Bus Service Plan countywide will begin in June.

“Never mistake people for percentages, and there’s 2 percent who are going to have a change not for the positive,” Donchak said. “This was a very hard process, and I think we came to a really good place.

“We’re extending the hours of the (Same-Day Taxi Program) and implementing a countywide pilot program that decreases the same-day taxi transfer costs,” Donchak said during a phone interview later that day.

The extension Same-Day Taxi Program for ACCESS would also include an elimination

of the $3.60 transfer cost between the same-day taxi and the regular ACCESS service.

Donchak said the entire Bus Service Plan intends to increase the OCTA’s ridership countrywide to 1.3 million over the next three years.

“This was not a service reduction; this was a redeployment to build ridership,” Donchak said.

The 91 bus route, which travels from San Clemente to Laguna Hills along the Pacific Coast Highway, will see no changes in service from the Bus Plan.

According to an OCTA press release, the bus services have lost more than 20 million passengers, a reduction of 30 percent, since 2008.

“I am deeply concerned that we do right by the folks that are affected by the service changes and I hope they’ll reach out for guidance during the transition,” Donchak said.

The dates of community meetings and availability of information will be announced by OCTA.

To find out more information, Donchak said residents can contact her at 949.361.8322 or donchakl@san-clemente.org. The Bus Service Plan and a schedule of service reductions can be found at www.octa.net/Bus/Final-2016-Service-Change.

Editor’s note: This article has been adjusted to clarify the comments made by OCTA Board Chairwoman Lori Donchak. 

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comments (1)

  • Does the change involve the Access bus (for which you have to qualify & tkts. are $3.60 one-way) that runs from SJC to San Clemente, namely to Ave. de la Estrella?

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