Shuttles OK'd for JWA area
Three routes will begin this spring.
By ELYSSE JAMES
IRVINE – Shuttle buses will start rolling in the Irvine Business Complex this spring.
The City Council voted 3-2 late Tuesday night to approve three routes, a service plan, a seven-year operating and capital plan, fares and a five-year contract with MV Transportation Inc. for maintenance and operation of the shuttle service.
The service will work with the Orange County Transportation Authority bus service and will provide traffic relief during peak hours, as well as serving customers, employees and residents of the area near John Wayne Airport. Shuttle routes will link the airport with the Tustin Metrolink Station.
Council members Christina Shea and Steven Choi voted against the plan but advocated an alternative plan to put the shuttle service through a three-year trial period before making it permanent. The alternative also would have increased fares.
City staff said the service will reduce reliance on automobiles, promote ride-sharing, relieve traffic congestion and improve air quality.
The shuttles will be called "The i– Irvine Shuttle." The logo is blue and green with a cursive iin the middle of the design.
There are three planned routes:
•Route A will connect the Tustin Metrolink Station to John Wayne Airport via Von Karman.
•Route B will connect the Tustin station to residential and commercial areas near the airport via Jamboree and Michelson.
•Route C will provide midday service to the employment and retail centers in the area.
Most of the shuttle stops will be at OCTA stops. Thirteen other stops will be added for a total of 63. Rides will be free for the first 90 days.
The city will lease vehicles for 12 to 18 months until buses can be manufactured. The buses will be about 25 percent smaller than normal OCTA buses and are expected to be purchased with grants.
Fares and advertising will provide some revenue, but grants and the city budget will pay the rest of the costs. About $2 million from the city's general fund may have to be used until grants and other funding are secured. The vehicles will cost an estimated $4.3 million, which could be provided by the OCTA. City staff is still discussing funding with the OCTA.
The shuttle plan must be approved by the OCTA and the California Transportation Commission.
"I told OCTA that one thing you can count on is that when Irvine does something, we do it right," Mayor Beth Krom said. "I want to be there when you launch it because I want to be there on the first bus."
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