High Numbers for Trolley, Paratransit Plan Adopted

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A Balboa Peninsula Trolley on June 16. City Council approved a Paratransit Plan for the shuttle service on Tuesday.
— NB Indy file photo by Victoria Kertz ©

Newport Beach City Council voted to adopt a Paratransit Plan as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Orange County Transportation Authority 2016 Project V Grant for the Balboa Peninsula Trolley that started service last month. Project V funds 88 percent of the new shuttle system on the peninsula.

The ADA requires that all public transit operators provide complementary paratransit service (or curb-to-curb service) for individuals whose disabilities make them unable to use the fixed route service.

OCTA has asked all of its Project V grant funding recipients to prepare a complementary paratransit plan, so that they are in compliance with the ADA.

The city of Newport Beach published a notice of their proposed plan in June, which listed a website for users to review the plan.

Deputy Community Development Director Brenda Wisneski said the plan complied with the 30-day review period requested by OCTA and is consistent with the provisions of the city’s Municipal Code. A public hearing was required for the adoption for the plan.

Councilman Scott Peotter moved to adopt the paratransit plan and Councilwoman Diane Dixon seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.

The trolley program, Wisneski told city council, has exceeded ridership expectations to date. As of July 9, the trolley has had a total of 9,704 passengers, she explained. The trolleys transport an average of 922 riders per day, which is more than double the goal of 437 per day.

She noted that on July 4, ridership on the trolley exceeded 2,000 people.

It is estimated that the program may be keeping as many as 60 cars off peninsula streets each day, based on parking in the lot at Hoag Hospital, Wisneski said.

The trolley program’s future will be discussed at a later city council meeting. Items being considered are adjusting the schedule to include more stops, extending the hours of operation, and whether the city should invest in an open-air trolley car, like the ones used in Laguna Beach.

The trolley program will run on weekends through September 3, and on Labor Day, September 4.

For more information, visit newportbeachca.gov/trolley.

The Balboa Peninsula Trolley.
— Photo courtesy city of Newport Beach ©
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