Since the 1980s, the City of Irvine, alone among Orange County cities, has provided a remarkable door-to-door transportation service.  The original intention of TRIPS was to focus on frail and isolated seniors so they could participate in the many senior activities Irvine offers, as well as go shopping and get to their medical appointments.  TRIPS is now available to all Irvine residents 18 years or older who are unable to drive due to a physical or cognitive disability.

All TRIPS buses have wheelchair lifts and well-trained, helpful drivers.

The application for TRIPS membership requires a report by a physician attesting to the disability.  Registration and first year membership costs $25; annual renewal costs $20.

Where, how, how much?

TRIPS transportation is available door to door, within Irvine and to adjacent cities, and also to St Joseph’s and UCI Medical Centers.  Grocery shopping trips to various Irvine markets are also organized.  Cost per trip is $1.90 one-way from and to any location in Irvine, and outside Irvine for a cost of either $3.80 or $5.70 per one-way trip, depending on location and distance.  A punch-card with 16 rides, for $30, must be purchased in advance and is not available on the buses.  There are several places to purchase tickets and they can also be mailed.

Rides are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.  Reservations for a pickup may be made between 8am and 6pm, Monday through Friday, at 949-724-7433.  Available times for transportation are between 7am and 5:30pm, Monday through Friday, with limited availability on the weekends, contingent on demand.  Requests can be made as far as 14 days in advance for medical appointments, and as far as 7 days in advance for non-medical travel.

A popular time to schedule TRIPS transportation is for Monday morning at 9am, to get to Senior Center activities.  In fact, there’s a shuttle service that’s a group ride to the Lakeview Senior Center.  It’s available every day at set times. So, last minute requests may not be available for that time.

Although no advance reminder calls are made, if a resident is not at the pickup location, a phone call will be made while the bus waits a bit.  If the person is truly a no-show, a subsequent call will be made to check on the person’s well-being.

Who uses TRIPS and who funds it?

Over 350 Irvine residents are active participants who use TRIPS on the 10 wheelchair-accessible buses and one mini-van that is not wheelchair accessible.  The City’s general fund pays for 81% of the program’s costs, with 3% coming from user fees, 3% by contract with the Irvine Adult Care program, and 12% from the County’s Senior Mobility Program.

For TRIPS information and to apply, call:
949-724-7433  8am to 6pm, M-F.
Registration processing may take up to 3 business days after the completed application is received.

The County’s ACCESS service

Another transportation service, ACCESS, is a shared-ride service offered by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for Orange County residents who are unable to use the regular, fixed-route bus service because of functional limitations caused by a disability.  ACCESS serves all of Orange County and has a base fare of $3.60 per one-way trip.  It has a more complicated application and approval process requiring a 1-hour, in-person functional assessment that, including the commute, may take 3-4 hours.  ACCESS service is provided within ¾ mile of, and during similar hours as OCTA’s regular, fixed-route bus service.

ACCESS service is available 7am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 5pm on weekends and holidays.

For information, call 714-560-5956 ext 3; or visit:
octa.net and search for ACCESS.

Harvey H. Liss

Harvey H. Liss, a former Irvine Planning Commissioner, holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics and is a California Licensed Civil Engineer. Dr. Liss is a longtime resident of Woodbridge, the iconic Irvine village he helped design in the 1970s. He now reports for ICNV on environmental and senior health issues. You can contact Harvey by emailing him at Harvey@IrvineCommunityNews.org
Harvey H. Liss