Public transportation users in New Orleans East and on the West Bank now have more options. In a press release, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office announced Wednesday that New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has begun its enhanced bus service to New Orleans East, Algiers, as well as its extended weekend ferry service.
“I want to thank the RTA for listening to our residents as well as the leadership of the City of New Orleans,” Mayor Cantrell said. “They have implemented these enhanced services, providing improved access and more transportation options for the community, especially in previously underserved areas of Algiers and New Orleans East. Transportation is one of my top priorities, and when I took office, I created the City’s first Office of Transportation and prioritized RTA. Transportation is infrastructure, and my administration is ensuring that our infrastructure is accessible, equitable, safe, and efficient for all. We are looking at this through an equity lens, and appreciate how this expanded service will help those residents most in need.”
New Orleans East Service Enhancements:
- 63-New Orleans East Owl: This bus line will provide service every 30 minutes (current service is every 60 minutes)
- 64-Lake Forest Express & 65-Read-Crowder Express: Each bus line will provide service every 30 minutes on weekdays, all day long. On weekends, the two bus lines will also be broken into two separate lines and operate independently both inbound and outbound. (Currently, service is provided every 30 minutes, during AM and PM peak hours.
Algiers Service Enhancements
- 114-General DeGaulle-Sullen & 115-General DeGaulle-Tullis: Each bus line will provide service every 25-30 minutes, during the following peak times: 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. – 7:25 p.m. (Currently, each bus line provides service every 45 minutes).
Ferry Service Enhancement
- Algiers Point-Canal Street Ferry – Service will begin every morning at 6 a.m. daily (Currently, ferry service begins at 10 a.m. on weekends).
The changes fit within the New Orleans RTA CEO Alex Wiggins’ 100-day plan for solving longstanding problems with public transportation in the City. Wiggins took control of the New Orleans RTA on July 1, having previously served as a transit security executive in Los Angeles, CA. In September, the New Orleans RTA will regain control of its operations from private contractor Transdev, which has managed the public transportation utility for the past decade.
According to Wiggins, this is “the first step” in a longer process of increasing the frequency of service in New Orleans East and the West Bank.
Local transit advocacy group RIDE New Orleans has praised the proposed changes, with the group’s executive director Alex Posorske saying they are, “a great down payment for the New Links network redesign that’s going to come after this, one that can really build up some trust.”
New Links is a system-wide redesign of the RTA’s route system that is slated to be completed by the end of 2019. The Regional Planning Commission has been holding meetings in recent weeks to gather input from riders about changes to the RTA system.
According to nola.com, the proposed changes will cost the RTA around $790,000. However, due to lower-than-expected operational costs, the costs are affordable.
Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Big Easy Magazine. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Wander N.O. More, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_