The city of Irvine held a ribbon-cutting ceremony October 4th to mark the beginning of the new iShuttle routes from the Irvine Station on Barranca Parkway to the business area in the Irvine Spectrum. The transit system was launched in 2008 and has transported more than 200,000 riders from the Tustin Station to the Irvine Business Complex near John Wayne Airport. The Irvine Spectrum addition is expected to impact more than 3,000 businesses and nearly 20,000 employees. 

"It took us a little bit of time to build ridership, but what we are doing now is connecting businesses," Irvine City Mayor Sukhee Kang told OC Metro. "Irvine is a major job center in Orange County, so there are a lot of companies and a lot of cluster businesses making this a major transportation hub. It is important that we set an infrastructure looking for our future transit need." 

Nearly 200,000 people commute into the Irvine Station every morning via the Metrolink and Amtrak trains, making it the busiest train station in Orange County, according to the city of Irvine. Mayor Kang said he hopes the new routes will help lower costs for commuters and reduce the environmental impact. 

Starting Oct. 10, riders will have access to two new routes from the Irvine Station: Route C will transport riders to major employment destinations along Ada Street, Alton Parkway and Irvine Center Drive. The route includes employment centers such as Capital Group and Sage Software. Route D will transport riders to offices on Barranca Parkway, Alton Parkway and Sand Canyon Avenue. Employment centers along Route D include Taco Bell headquarters, Alcon Research, Blizzard Entertainment, Hoag Hospital Irvine, Kaiser Hospital and Verizon Wireless. 

"What a great idea to collaborate with companies and employers to really utilize and maximize this public transit system," said Kang. "We are very pleased that we are finally opening the Irvine Spectrum area." Shohreh Dupuis, manager of Transit and Transportation for the city, said the new service isn't going to cost taxpayers. 

The funding for the project came from a long-standing relationship between the city of Irvine and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), according to Dupuis. The city has secured $121.3 million in funding from OCTA, which will fund 90 percent of the project over the next 30 years. Employers from the business epicenters will cover the remaining 10 percent of the programs costs. "The city council adopted a citywide transit vision three years ago," said Dupuis. "They wanted to connect riders to the business centers to encourage growth...That is what this program is about." 

To view maps of the new routes visit the city's website by www.irvineshuttle.net