Monday, September 12, 2016

Traveling between the Inland Empire and Orange County

One disadvantage of living in a major metropolitan area is that sometimes, rather than going from the city center to the suburbs, you have to go from one suburb to another suburb.

When the major metropolitan area covers multiple counties, each with its own transportation agencies, the situation can get pretty complex.

I have spent a good portion of the last thirty years traveling from the Inland Empire suburbs of Los Angeles to the Orange County suburbs of Los Angeles. I spent five years at Cal State Fullerton, and I have spent over two decades working in Brea, Anaheim, and Irvine. Plus, I have had to visit Concordia University Irvine on occasion, as well as South Coast Plaza (and the nearby Hilton), Portillo's in Buena Park, and some mouse place in Anaheim.

This is difficult enough when you have to deal with the southern California freeways to get from place to place.

But what if you don't have a car?

If you happen to be near certain Metrolink stations, you're in luck. You can take Metrolink from Orange County to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, and can then take another Metrolink to the Inland Empire. Or, if you're lucky and do it at the right time, you can take a Metrolink from Fullerton to Riverside County - and sometimes to San Bernardino County.

There is a more direct route, however. The Orange County Transportation Authority currently has two bus routes, the 757 and 758 - one of which goes from Orange County to Pomona, and the other of which goes from Orange County to Chino.

Did I say that the OCTA CURRENTLY has those two bus routes? That's right - the 757 and 758 are being discontinued next month. Happily, there is an alternative - Foothill Transit Route 286, which connects an Orange County transit station at Brea Mall with a Foothill Transit station in Pomona. And the 286 runs hourly - provided you can get to Brea Mall or Pomona.

So let's say that you live in Ontario, and want to get to a city in Orange County. Here's how you'd do it:

Take a bus, or walk, to Holt Boulevard.
Board Omnitrans Route 61 going westbound to Pomona.
Transfer to Foothill Transit Route 286, and take it to the Brea Mall.
Take an OCTA bus from the Brea Mall - for example, the 20 to Yorba Linda or La Habra, or the 57 to a number of cities, including Fullerton, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, and Newport Beach.

I'll grant that taking a trip on three different bus lines can be complex, and I'm not sure which of the lines honor transfers from the other lines, but at least a trip is possible.

And it's better than walking. Nobody walks. (Actually, they do.)

[EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: Earlier this year, I completed an Orange County Transportation Authority survey on vanpools. This was one of those surveys in which a survey participant could win something - and I won. Specifically, I received a $100 Chevron gas card from OCTA.

For those who recall the Jeannine Schafer/Louis Gray FTC blogger disclosure artwork, here's the one that applies.]