Why Many Orange County Rider Got Off the Bus

Casting into sharp relief the shifting socioeconomic forces that likely underlie a long slide in ridership, roughly 70 percent of former bus riders have joined the ranks of motorists, and 36 percent no longer call Orange County home, according to a transit survey released last week.

The independent survey of 1,200 onetime bus riders comes at a time when manufacturing jobs continue to lose ground to the service sector and Orange County residents are increasingly priced out of the housing market. Amid this, bus riders appear to abandon the mass transit staple as soon as they can afford a car.

The Orange County Transportation Authority commissioned the poll earlier this year. An agency panel reviewed the findings last week, aiming to stave off further ridership losses following a 30 percent slide from 2004 to 2014. A new transit plan is expected to go before the board of directors in November.

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