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Record Number Of Commuters Turning To Transit

OCTA offers solutions to help people struggling with high gas prices

ORANGE – Metrolink ridership during June in Orange County saw one of the largest single month increases over the last five years as more residents discover taking the train is an ideal way to beat the high cost of gas.

Metrolink ridership in June 2008 was up 15.3 percent over June 2007. The jump translates into more than 50,000 more boardings with a total of 381,185 boardings in June 2008 vs. 330,730 in June 2007.

The three Metrolink lines that serve Orange County also saw a 7.3 percent increase in June 2008 as compared to May 2008. In addition, Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) bus ridership increased in June by 1.6 percent compared to June 2007. With 5,759,199 boardings, ridership approached OCTA’s record June set in 2006 with 5,899,911.

The latest numbers show that mass transit use is not just for weekday commuters. Weekend Metrolink ridership was up 60 percent in June 2008 compared to June 2007.

“With no relief in sight from soaring prices at the pump, residents are searching for alternatives to solo driving and they’re finding the solution with public transportation,” said Chris Norby, OCTA chairman and the Fourth District supervisor. “Whether it’s for work, to shop or for weekend fun, OCTA offers ways to keep Orange County moving without having to sit behind the wheel of a car.”

Last month, OCTA provided approximately 45,250 free bus rides to people as part of its Dump the Pump program. OCTA continues the Dump the Pump program by offering residents this summer free all-day bus passes. The pass will be part of a mailing with Valpak to 80,000 households in northern Orange County at the end of this month and 200,000 households in western and southern Orange County in August.

OCTA also is providing free passes to communities served by four express bus routes: Seal Beach to Irvine, Brea to Irvine, Huntington Beach to Los Angeles and Fullerton to Los Angeles. Residents may find the passes as part of door hangers and in community newspapers.

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