OC Fair Express enjoyed record- breaking summer

COSTA MESA — Spurred by low fares and admission discounts, a record number of riders took a dedicated bus to the 2011 OC Fair, the Orange County Transportation Authority said.

The OCTA-operated OC Fair Express transported 25,669 riders over the course of the summer fair, compared with 6,161 in 2008.

The shuttle was not operated in 2009 and 2010, due to funding cutbacks, OCTA spokesman Joel Zlotnik said Wednesday.

The service, which started in 2006, was able to resume under a $211,000 grant provided by the Mobile Source Air Pollution Review Committee.

The increase in ridership could be attributed to promotional efforts that offered riders a coupon for $2 entrance to the fair with purchase of a $1.50 one-way fare and the increase in operational hours, Zlotnik said.

Transportation was available Friday though Sunday from six park-and-ride lots in Fullerton, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Orange and San Juan Capistrano.

"Our goal is to provide the county with an alternative transportation option," Zlotnik said. "It was a great way to get people out of their cars and try the bus."

A survey of 600 OC Fair Express riders conducted by the OCTA found that more than half had never ridden a bus, Zlotnik said, adding that nearly all reported satisfaction with the service.

— Sarah Peters

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