During last Wednesday's OCTA customer roundtable, the unofficial word from staff members was that rapid bus service couldn't begin this year because implementing it means dipping from the same financial pot as local service. They're hoping to launch both the Westminster Line and the Harbor Line at the same time in June 2010, and then the Brea-Irvine rapid bus later in 2010.
Some other tidbits:
- Staff are recommending alternating every other trip to UC Irvine. This will come a long way in linking students to the airport, the medical center, and South Coast Plaza. This will come just in time as UC Irvine's new East Campus Housing — with 1,763 beds — opens in late 2010. The bus route proposal still needs to be presented to the board of directors and approved by them.
- Word is that their original marketing concept of having a "Red Line," "Green Line," and "Blue Line" didn't fly with the Board of Directors, so OCTA may now base the lines' names off their streets. Their only problem: the bus from Brea to Irvine runs through three or four different street names, so naming it will be a challenge. My take: since OCTA's transit operations are so strapped for cash, how about selling the rights to the name? Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals bought naming rights to Cleveland's bus rapid transit system and dubbed it the HealthLine. We could do something similar with a UC Irvine-branded rapid bus and do away with that hideously-infrequent UC Irvine Medical Center shuttle, which runs every 2 to 3 hours.