Fom the OCTA's growth management plan!
"ACCESS ridership has grown steadily over the past few years at a rate of more than 10 percent. Ridership in 2002 was 690,000, growing to 840,000 in 2003, and exceeding 1 million in 2004. In the upcoming year, we expect ridership to double what is was in 2002. By law, ACCESS must be provided wherever and whenever fixed route bus service is operated within a ¾ mile corridor of the fixed route network. Because the service is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil right's law, OCTA cannot restrict the growth by placing a cap on the money spent on the program. This has some other transit properties in the position of meeting paratransit program growth by cutting back on their fixed route service. At OCTA, we are fortunate not to be in that position today, but left unchecked, this growth could begin to affect our ability to grow the fixed route program or even maintain the level of service provided today. Funds used to provide ACCESS are the same funds used to provide fixed route service. With only one pot of money, it is imperative that we look at the proper balance between fixed route and ACCESS service to meet the transportation needs for all residents throughout the county."
What about the Measure M funds?
From the Measure M assesment, http://www.octa.net/pdf/mm_assesment.pdf: Sec2:22 (page 27 of 53)
"Of all Measure M program and project line items, only the discount fare for senior citizens and the disabled and GMA's are capped at a set dollar amount and do not grow with sales tax revenue growth."
So.. even though the Measure M sales tax revenue has grown by approximately 33%. Not an additional dime has been directed to senior and disabled transit AND the Renewed Measure M offers the same prospects even with a projected 95% growth in senior citizen population and a 30 year extension of the tax.
The cap is in place and the OCTA intends to maintain it! Just read the assessment of ACCESS above and remember, the citizens of Orange County invested an additional 3+ billion dollars in our transportation system to date, and as we age the system will be seeking a balance between our needs and all other residents throughout the county.
Seems rather reminisant of the Social Security debacle doesn't it. Then it was a social need. Now it is an entitlement program!