OC transit officials push back date for more cuts

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Orange County's bus riders today got a temporary reprieve. KPCC's Susan Valot says transportation officials delayed some of the major cuts they plan for bus service... but only for a few months.

Susan Valot: The Orange County Transportation Authority plans to cut 400,000 bus service hours by next summer. The first round is in September when 75 drivers will lose their jobs. The second was supposed to be in December, when officials planned to eliminate overnight bus routes.

Now they say they need more time – to hold public hearings and study ridership patterns. The transportation authority's Gregory Winterbottom says they'll delay the December cuts until March.

Gregory Winterbottom: This'll give our public a chance to know what lines are going to be diminished or completely removed. And it'll give 'em a chance to move if they have to or make alternate arrangements. But I think it also helps our staff. It's very difficult to continue working if you don't really know if you're going to lose your job or not.

Valot: Winterbottom and others say one key factor is ridership, which is declining in Orange County. It fell nearly 20 percent in June, compared to the same time last year.