OC Flex, the Orange County Transportation Authority’s micro transit pilot program, has transported more than 35,000 people within two areas of Orange County in its first year of service. The service, which launched in October 2018, allows passengers to request a ride on-demand through a mobile app. The $1.15 million project is structured to provide transit services in areas where there’s little demand or need for full fixed-route service.
Funding for the program came from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC), which funds a variety of projects in Southern California to reduce emissions from motor vehicles. The funds are generated from a $4 surcharge on automobiles.
The OC Flex-branded vans, each capable of holding up to eight passengers, take riders straight from their pickup location to their destination within two designated zones –one in portions of Huntington Beach and Westminster, and the other in portions of Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, and Laguna Niguel (see map below).
Riders can hop aboard for $4.50 when using the OC Flex mobile app (see graphic below) or pay $5 cash onboard, with no surge pricing. A single-pass gives customers unlimited daily rides in either of the zones and on any OC Busfixed route for the day.
OC Flex has been successful in extending the reach of Metrolink trains, particularly in the South County zone, where many riders are transferring onto the service from the Laguna Niguel-Mission Viejo Metrolink Station. With a valid Metrolink or Amtrak pass, customers can also ride to and from a train station for free.
- OC Flex screenshots from the phone app.
The vehicles are accessible to wheelchair passengers and operate seven days a week. Vehicles are operated by professional drivers who undergo background checks and extensive safety training.
Reviewing Pilot Performance
The OCTA board is expected to review the service’s performance early next year and determine the next steps for the program. Here are the board-adopted performance metrics and how they will be measured:
- Productivity – The key metric for ridership will be boardings per revenue hour. This is consistent with how productivity is measured on the bus and rail services. Data to calculate this measure will come from reports in the TransLoc software. The target at the end of the first year of service will be six or more boardings per revenue hour.
- Cost-Effectiveness – The key metric for cost-effectiveness will be subsidy per boarding. This will be measured using actual costs and revenues received. The target at the end of the first year of service will be $9.00 or less subsidy per boarding.
- Shared Rides – The key metric for vehicle occupancy will be percent shared rides. Data to calculate this measure will come from reports in the TransLoc software. The target at the end of the first year of service will be 25 percent shared rides.
- Connecting transit trips – The key metric for connecting transit trips will be percentage of trips to/from transit hubs. Data to calculate this measure will come from reports in the TransLoc software. The target at the end of the first year of service will be more than 25 percent of trips to/from transit hubs.
- Customer satisfaction – The key metric for customer satisfaction will be the percent of passengers satisfied with the service. Data will be collected using a statistically valid survey conducted by the driver. The target at the end of the first year of service will be more than 85 percent of passengers will indicate that they are very or somewhat satisfied with the micro-transit service.
One of the two areas (each about 6 square miles) where the OC Flex pilot is in service
For more information on OC Flex, visit www.OCFlex.com.