Imagine walking to your bus stop to find you missed the ride that gets you to class on time. The next bus doesn’t arrive for 30 minutes, and it will take an extra 20 minutes just to get to campus. You’re late.
The bus may be cheaper than maintaining a full tank of gas, but is it really more convenient? “Sometimes you have to wake up at least an hour early just to make sure you don’t miss the bus,” said Melissa Borjas, a criminal justice major at SAC.
“If you live far and have class at 7 a.m. you might end up having to wake up at 5 a.m. to make it to class because you never know if the bus might be late,” Borjas said.
Joel Zlotnik, media relations manager at OCTA, said bus routes in Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Garden Grove are usually the most packed, especially around rush hour.
Although riding the bus may take longer than driving, it is a way for students to gain a sense of independence.
“I used to enjoy taking the bus to class. The bus drivers are actually really cool and it’s fun if you’re riding it with someone else,” said psychology major Cassie Cejas.
Orange County Transportation Authority has 77 bus routes that can take people all over Orange County. Regular fare is $1.50 one-way.
A day pass is $4 and is valid until 11:59 p.m. of that same day.
OCTA also offers monthly passes for students for $55 or $30 for 18 and younger. Children five and under ride free with a paying customer.
“We always encourage students to save money when taking the bus by using bus passes,” Zlotnik said.
College passes are also available, allowing students a more affordable option. Seventy-five and 120-day passes are available from OCTA for $95 and $150, respectively.
“Over the last three years we have had to cut service by 20 percent as a result of cuts in state funding and a decline in sales tax,” said Zlotnik. “The less service we provide, the more crowded the buses will be.”
Students have to deal with the crowds here on campus as well. Larger crowds congest bus stops and can cause buses to be late.
Even with these inconveniences, public transportation can still be rewarding. It can even be an educational adventure.
“Riding the bus is a good experience,” says student Miriam Lopez. “You learn a lot.”