South Coast Fastrak, a new commuter service utilizing Amtrak trains and executive vans, will begin next month for South Coast Plaza employees who live in the south county area.
Begining Jan. 18, commuters who use the service will ride Amtrak from San Clemente or San Juan Capistrano to the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center, where a van will be waiting to take them to South Coast Plaza.
The daily round-trip ticket from San Juan Capistrano is $12.60, which includes transportation on vans operated by Luxe Transportation Systems Inc.
Fastrak will be offered initially for employees of the South Coast Plaza Retail Center, South Coast Plaza Town Center and South Coast Plaza Village.
The service, designed to ease traffic congestion between the south county and Costa Mesa during peak hours, is the first of its kind in Orange County that utilizes Amtrak trains, according to South Coast Plaza spokesman Dan Carlsson.
Amtrak operates three trains in the morning and three in the afternoon. The trip takes about 45 minutes to and from San Juan Capistrano, and free parking will be provided at the train station.
Carlsson said that employee response to the idea so far has been good and that sign-up cards will be distributed next week.
Early next year, the South Coast Metro Alliance, a group of developers in the area, will announce a comprehensive transportation demand management program for the South Coast Metro area. That program will involve several travel options for employees, including ride-sharing, staggered work hours and public transit, Carlsson said.
The comprehensive program will affect about 25,000 employees who work in South Coast Metro, a 3.5-square-mile area bounded by the San Diego Freeway, the Costa Mesa Freeway, MacArthur Boulevard and Harbor Drive.