Monthly Meetings / Village Life

July 28 Meeting Provided Overview of Village Bus System

 “Ride the Village Buses: Where They Go and How to Use Them”

General Meeting
Friday, July 28, 2017, 2 pm
Laguna Woods Village
Performing Arts Center (Clubhouse 3)
Dining Room 1
Refreshments served


2016 saw the introduction of major changes in the BUS SYSTEM, one of Laguna Woods Village’s most prized amenities. The changes were designed to make the system more convenient, more cost-effective, and more popular.  but not all changes were well-received at first. With more time, kinks have been worked out — and the improved system was presented and discussed at this meeting.


Village Management Services Transportation

Golden Rain Foundation
Board Member
Friends of the Village


The meeting  was opened at 2 pm by club president Catherine Brians, who welcomed attendees and the panel consisting of Marion Levine, FOV Secretary; Joan Milliman, GRF Board Member; and Becky Jackson, Village Management Services Transportation Department Coordinator.

Marion Levine began with a brief early history of the bus system in the Village. Beginning with one bus, driven by a resident, on a route within the Village, the system has grown over time to the current eight routes, run each hour, not only within the Village but to the shopping centers surrounding our walls.

In the early years, management negotiated with Orange County for a limited license permitting the operation of a privately-owned bus line driven by those with an ordinary driver’s license to transport folks within the Village free of charge.

With a high of 19 different routes to the current eight-route system with supplemental buses, the routes usually ran on an hourly schedule and the buses averaged about 100 miles per day. The drivers continued to be residents who worked 6-hr shifts.

JOAN MILLIMAN (center at right)
Golden Rain Foundation Board Member

In 1988 the Transportation Department opened a Maintenance Facility to service not only our buses but also all of the Village vehicles, which included Security and Maintenance vehicles. Studies have been done over the years which show that it is much more cost-effective to service them ourselves than to contract out these services.  New buses cost between $160,000 – $260,000.  In the last 10-15 years, State and Federal grants have covered 80-100% of the purchase price.  The average service expectancy of a bus is 15 years.

Joan Milliman continued the history. In 1993, the Leisure World Bus Drivers Association was formed to address driver concerns and plan expanded services. In 1994, Orange County Transit cancelled Dial-a-Ride between Hughes and Vons Markets, and drivers were barred from toting groceries so the residents needed help. This development saw the introduction of Super Shuttle for $2 round-trip.  This did not prove practical so Ornage County created Grocery Go-Fers who shopped for busy/home-bound residents for an average of $10 per order. In 1995 Albertsons sent a free shuttle 4 days a week.

Since 1986, residents have been required to show Village ID’s to eliminate unauthorized riders. In 2010, a GPS tracking system was installed to show the location of each bus to facilitate resident pickups.

The transportation system is one of the most costly  items in our monthly housing assessments.

Village Management Services Transportation

Becky Jackson reported that fewer folks were riding the buses so the Transportation Deptartment cut back to eight routes, roughly two routes per neighborhood, serving over 18,000 residents.

She reviewed the routes and commented on the free special trips, arranged with the Recreation Department, to the shopping malls in the area.  The larger buses take residents to the specific mall where they have 3-4 hours for shopping, lunch, and a movie. There are currently 16 buses in service. New riders can arrange for a resident volunteer “bus buddy” to accompany them on their first couple of trips to introduce and familiarize them with the services available.

Q&A Session Followed Presentation

At that point, Catherine Brians opened the floor to questions from the audience which were answered by the panelists.

There were 50 attendees at this meeting, which ended at 3:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Marion Levine, Secretary




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