People in Huntington Beach will soon have another option besides Uber and Lyft to get around.
The Orange County Transportation Authority will begin a one-year pilot program Oct. 15 in which OC Flex vehicles will provide on-demand ride services similar to the program’s popular national counterparts. OC Flex is part of the transportation agency’s effort to meet the changing needs of public transit riders, according to a news release.
Rides will be offered throughout two designated areas. One zone includes parts of Huntington Beach and Westminster, from Bolsa Chica Road to Pavilions Place on Beach Boulevard. That service begins Oct. 15.
The other zone includes areas of Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel and Mission Viejo. Service there begins Oct. 20.
Bus services in the selected areas were eliminated in 2016 because of low ridership but still have some demand for services, according to Megan Abba, an OCTA spokeswoman.
Riders can use OC Flex for $4.50 when using the mobile app or pay $5 in cash. A pass allows riders to use the service for unlimited daily rides in either zone or any countywide bus.
OC Flex can carry up to eight passengers at a time and can accommodate wheelchairs. Riders as young as 13 can use the service on their own.
Huntington Beach Mayor Mike Posey said the pilot program will serve a different area than the free shuttle provided by Visit Huntington Beach, the city’s official destination marketing organization.
“I think it’s a big plus to people that need transportation that may not have easy access to a bus or if it isn’t convenient,” Posey said. “It’s a good alternative to Uber if they’re more comfortable in a public car.”
The program is funded primarily by a grant from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee, which has invested more than $400 million in clean transportation initiatives since 1990, according to the news release.