The longest journey begins with the first step, and although the South Coast Plaza's plan for shuttling workers from the train station in Santa Ana to their jobs in Costa Mesa is a modest one, it is a first step worth noting and supporting.
The plan, labeled South Coast Fastrak, is scheduled to start Jan. 18. It calls for employees living in southern Orange County to board Amtrak trains in San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano and be met in Santa Ana by vans that will transport them to their jobs in the plaza and South Coast Town Center. The fare for the round-trip train and van service from San Juan Capistrano is $12.60 a day.
For some employees that fare may be too much, but for others, it's really no more than it costs to commute by car, considering total auto expense. And some employees might ride the train-van connection once or twice a week, which will make the arrangement both financially bearable and also reduce auto traffic in the car-choked South Coast Plaza area. Even a relatively modest initial reaction of 30 or 40 people will make the new program worthwhile.
Last month the South Coast Air Quality Management District approved a plan requiring large businesses to reduce air pollution by encouraging the use of car and van pools, public transit and other approaches that will help cut commuter traffic. Fastrak is a first step in the right direction.