BY MARCO URIAS
Cypress College spring semester bus pass holders may be affected by a possible Orange County Transportation Authority driver strike on Feb. 15. adding to the technical problems experienced through the new ‘OC Bus’ app which could impact student commute.
The college bus pass was first funded by the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) in the spring semester of 2021 when the majority of classes were still remote. It was part of a CA program that aims to reduce greenhouse gasses.
The bus pass fee was transferred to students for the spring semester of 2022 with increasing return to campus and in-person classes.
Prior to the beginning of the spring semester students who planned to use the bus pass were informed they needed to download the new ‘OC Bus’ app. Otherwise they would not be able to access the pass.
Students still had trouble accessing the bus pass despite having downloaded the new app which led some to wonder if the bus pass was still offered at CC. On Jan. 24 multiple students reached out to associated students via their ‘instagram’ page to inquire about the program’s continuation and how to access it.
AS confirmed that the CC free bus pass program was still offered and gave instructions on how to access it. According to the OCTA Cypress College bus pass information website, it would automatically show up under the available tickets tab, but this was not the case for some students.
In addition to the bus pass not showing up under the available tickets tab, it has frequently gone through ‘data errors’ that make it unavailable for use once it has appeared. OCTA customer service did not have an explanation for the occurrence of the ‘data error.’ Though the representative said the issue had been reported and drivers notified so that student bus pass holders would be able to board.
An email was sent on Feb. 7 to riders who have an account with OCTA about a possible shuttle operator strike that could begin on Tuesday, Feb. 15. SCNG reported the reasons for the strike to be a delay or possible neglect of contract renewals that ended in April. Salaries and break-times for drivers were also up for negotiation.
“And we,” the OCTA email read, “hope to continue negotiating in good faith to avoid a strike and reach a deal that is fair for coach operators while also being responsible to the taxpayers.”
Students were also notified of a possible strike through a newsletter sent by communications specialist Marcie Kagawa. Bus routes near Cypress College include the 25, 42, 46, 50, and the 123. According to OCTA customer service representatives, they don’t yet have information about which specific routes will not be affected.