Opinion: Inspiring Community Ridership by Promoting Irvine Connect

Today I took an Irvine Connect bus ride from Woodbridge Shopping Center to the Spectrum and back. I am very impressed with the route, and the accurate scheduling. I only wish I had access to an Irvine Connect bus line.

Irvine is being advertised as one of the happiest cities in the nation. Let’s not rest on our laurels; let’s make it even happier by assisting our residents who are living in their homes feeling isolated from, and out of touch with, community activities, events, commercial businesses, Great Park venues and community events. Perhaps Irvine Connect can be a stimulus for getting people out of their homes and participating in community activities.  Perhaps Irvine Connect could help increase customer traffic to commercial centers thus making business owners and managers happier by enabling them to afford their leases and remain in Irvine as well as promote tourism by taking passengers to explore the Great Park events and venues.

Introducing Irvine Connect to Irvine Residents and Obtaining Their Assistance for Assessing Their Interests and Needs:

Most Irvine residents have not heard of Irvine Connect, and the first Irvine Connect route is not accessible to many residents who really need public transportation in order to experience Irvine’s community activities, events and commercial centers.

Mental health and wellness are currently a big issue in Irvine that needs to be addressed. Many sectors of our community are self-isolating at home. This includes seniors, members of the disabled community, non-English speaking community members, low-income residents and students that don’t have cars or cannot afford to drive them. They need to be inspired to leave their homes and participate in community activities.

For Irvine Connect to be a successful public transportation system the City of Irvine should widely advertise and physically introduce Irvine Connect to all sectors of the Irvine community and instruct residents on how to use the system thereby inspiring community ridership. The city could take the opportunity to poll the residents asking for their input about their Irvine Connect experience and their recommendations for future Irvine Connect routes and destinations.

Event Proposal for Introducing Irvine Residents to Irvine Connect: 

  • Organize an event to take place at Lakeview Senior Center for the purpose of introducing residents to Irvine Connect.
  • Post banners around the city advertising the Irvine Connect event.
  • Advertise the event using local media and social media resources used by each of the primary ethnic groups in their primary languages.
  • Provide transportation to the senior center from known Senior Communities and affordable housing locations, perhaps by free i-Shuttle rides.
  • Contact facility and apartment complex offices and ask them to have residents sign up for the rides and provide the city with information regarding the number of residents who have signed up for the event.
  • Poll riders about their bus ride experience and solicit recommendations and requests regarding bus routes and bus destinations.
  • Tables for teaching people how to use the Irvine Connect transportation system.
  • Provide assistance with installing the Irvine Connect app on residents’ cell phones and show them how to use it.
  • Advertise at all the schools along the route (Northwood High, Irvine High, and Woodbridge High, and Sierra Vista, Venado and Lakeside Middle School).

While riding the Irvine Connect bus, Dr. Phyllis Agran and I discussed ways to improve the ride:

  1. Buses should have a system that announces the name or location of the stops that they are approaching and announce the location of the next stop.
  2. Buses should post signage outlining the route including landmark images so passengers can more easily follow the route and know when they are about to reach their destination.
  3. Dr. Phyllis Agran noted that the buses had seat belts but none of the passengers were using them. In the interest of public safety, buses should have “fasten seat belts” signs posted throughout the bus.

I think Irvine Connect would prove to be a great benefit to all Irvine residents. Let’s see what can be done to create a successful Irvine only circulation public transportation system which would make Irvine an even happier place to live and work.

For more information about Irvine Connect: Irvine CONNECT | City of Irvine