Friday, February 28, 2014

RTA's new Riders' Advisory Committee seeks members

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM

The RTA voted unanimously Tuesday to start a Riders' Advisory Committee. According to a Ride New Orleans blog postriders in the advisory committee should be able to have input on plans, schedules, routes and other RTA developments for buses, streetcars, ferries and paratransit services.

click image A man reads the paper on the St. Bernard bus. - MEGAN BRADEN-PERRY
  • A man reads the paper on the St. Bernard bus.

A celebration with coffee and pastries will be held Wednesday, March 12 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at 4404 St. Peter St.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Algiers ferry rates begin this weekend

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 5:23 PM


Veolia Transportation, which runs the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA), now controls the Algiers-Canal Street and Algiers-Chalmette ferry systems, which were handled by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD). With new managements comes a new fare structure.

The new (cash-only) fares kick in Sunday, Feb. 23. Here's what they look like:

Algiers-Canal Street (one-way): $2 per passenger; $1 for seniors (age 65 and older), and disabled and Medicaid patients (with ID); free to children under 2

Algiers-Chalmette (one-way): $2 per passenger and vehicle driver; $1 extra per additional passenger; $3 for trailers; $1 for seniors (age 65 and older), and disabled and Medicaid patients (with ID); free to children under 2

The ferry times are as follows:

Departures from Lower Algiers to Chalmette:
6:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. daily

Departures from Chalmette to Lower Algiers:
6:15 a.m.-8:45 p.m. daily

Departures from Algiers to Canal Street:
7:15 a.m.-6:45 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7:15 a.m.- 7:45 p.m. Friday; 10:45 a.m.-7:45 p.m. Saturday; 10:45 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Sunday

Departures from Canal Street to Algiers:
7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

The ferries do not run on extended hours, which residents and groups requested Veolia, the RTA, the state and local authorities restore following drastic budget cuts (and the dismantling of funds from the built-in Crescent City Connection tolls). In July 2013, the ferries — which used to run until midnight, free of charge to pedestrians — stopped service at 8:15 p.m. on weekends and 6:45 p.m. weekdays.

In August 2013, the RTA board approved a new fare plan to keep the ferries afloat, but negotiations stalled any forward progress. Officials revealed the new fare plan today.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Detours and schedule changes for public transit during Mardi Gras

Posted By on Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 5:10 PM


The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has announced its plans for moving people around town during the Mardi Gras season.

On Mardi Gras itself, bus lines will run their Saturday schedules and the Canal and Loyola streetcars will run their weekday schedules.

The Riverfront streetcar will run every 10 minutes. The St. Charles Avenue streetcar will be replaced by bus service, and all bus lines that come to or cross Canal Street will be detoured.

(More details under the jump)

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

RTA riders needed for online survey on late night service

Posted By on Tue, Dec 31, 2013 at 4:34 PM

RTA riders are urged to complete a short online survey about late night service and overall feelings toward the public transportation provider. Those who submit their answers are entered to win a 31-day Jazzy Pass, which normally costs $55.

Unfortunately for most, the map on the survey isn't labeled with street names. Instead, it uses those neighborhood names mostly coined in the 1970s that locals don't really use. (East Riverside, anyone?) Have no fear, the GNOCDC has an awesome map that can help.

Continue reading »

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Algiers-Canal Street ferry moving to pedestrian-only

Posted By on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Update, 4:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20: The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced the pedestrian-only ferry service will be delayed indefinitely. It was scheduled to replace the current Algiers-Canal Street ferry on Sept. 23. A statement reads, "The switch to pedestrian-only service will be delayed until further notice."

The Algiers-Canal Street ferry system’s new fares were approved, and the transfer of responsibility from the Louisiana Department of Transportation (DOTD) to the local New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is planned before the end of the year. Meanwhile, DOTD announced that the ferry will only transport pedestrians beginning Monday, Sept. 23.

The M/V Louis B. Porterie ferry served the route, but that boat was replaced with the M/V Arminger, which is a smaller vessel that can’t accommodate cars. DOTD will use the former vessel for backup on its other routes.

RTA proposed its fare structure following a public hearing from riders and Algiers residents and business owners, and its board approved the fares Aug. 13. On Aug. 22, New Orleans City Council unanimously approved the fares (which will look like this), with plans to accommodate vehicles.

RTA communications director Patrice Bell Mercadel said RTA is "working everyday to get through the transition period" and waiting for approval and authorization of its plan with DOTD. She said RTA hopes to takeover the ferries and implement the fares by December. However, she said it's still "so early on in the planning stages" to answer whether the ferries will accommodate cars once RTA takes over.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

RTA board approves ferry fare plan

Posted By on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM


Following the Aug. 5 public hearing to discuss the future of the Mississippi River ferries, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority's (RTA) board of commissioners met today to consider the proposed changes to the ferries' fare structure. The board voted in their favor, and they now head to New Orleans City Council for final approval.

The RTA made some adjustments to its fare proposal, presented last week. It took note of five points made at the Aug. 5 public meeting, including keeping fares affordable, offering discounts to regular riders, integrating public transit (including buses and streetcars) into the fare, and recognizing the needs of low-income riders.

Here is the RTA's "new" proposal for the Algiers-Canal Street ferry:

- The proposed $75 monthly ferry pass dropped to $65.
- The fare structure also includes one-day, five-day and 31-day integrated public transit passes for ferry, streetcar and bus service: one-day integrated transit pass is $7; 5-day ferry only pass is $18; 5-day integrated pass is $30; 31-day ferry-only pass is $65; 31-day integrated pass is $108.
- There still will be a daily $2 pedestrian fare ($4 round-trip). There is a $1 senior discount.
- The $5 day pass was eliminated.
- Drivers pay $2 one way and $2 for each additional passenger. There is a $1 senior discount.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Algiers ferry service suspended "until further notice"

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 4:44 PM


Update, July 31: DOTD announced the ferry is back in service and was scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation (DOTD) has announced that the ferry servicing Algiers from Canal Street is out of service "until further notice." The DOTD suspended service yesterday when the vessel servicing Chalmette experienced a mechanical failure and the Algiers ferry moved to Chalmette.

Service already has been slashed by DOTD when it took control of the ferry earlier this month. Service used to run until midnight — the new schedule halts the ferries at 6:15 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. weekends. Now, the ferry is effectively shut down:

Currently, there are no other boats available for service and the estimated time of service resuming at Algiers Point is unknown. DOTD is working diligently to determine the required repair.

Algiers businesses and downtown workers who live across the Mississippi River voiced concern for their businesses staying afloat — and livelihoods out of danger — at the New Orleans City Council's transportation committee meeting last week. City Council will hold a special meeting 5 p.m. Monday, August 5 to discuss the Regional Transit Authority's pitch for a fare increase. Pedestrians could pay up to $2 per trip or a monthly pass of $75.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Keep LA Swift

Posted By on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM

The LA Swift bus service that transports commuters between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is one of the silver linings that followed Hurricane Katrina. Now it’s threatened with extinction. Local officials in both cities are trying to help the transit service avoid that fate. I hope they succeed.

As horrific as Katrina was for south Louisiana, the storm also forged lasting bonds between communities that came to the aid of coastal parishes and those that were devastated. Baton Rouge responded on many levels, welcoming displaced New Orleanians who sought places to live within driving distance to the metro area.

Many of us still recall with dread the hours-long daily traffic jams on I-10 between New Orleans and the Capital City. To ease the congestion, the state established a park-and-ride commuter bus service between the two cities in October 2005. LA Swift became an instant hit. Even now, almost eight years after the storm, the service (which contracts with Hotard Coaches to provide buses) still provides more than 10,000 rides a month — and ridership is steadily growing.

Granted, the service was originally created as a temporary measure to help displaced New Orleanians get to work after the storm, but it has grown into a vital link between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Riders use it in both directions, so much so that civic and political leaders in both cities are rallying to keep LA Swift going. The service attracts some 200 riders a day.

LA Swift began via a Federal Transit Administration recovery grant, along with a $5 charge for each one-way trip. The grant is still available, but since 2007 it has required a local match, which the state has provided. The state will not provide that match going forward, however, and the service was set to end June 30. State officials last week gave LA Swift a one-month reprieve, giving local officials a chance to raise the local match, which is more than $700,000.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tonight: a rally to save the ferries

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 10:05 AM


Transit advocacy group Ride New Orleans (formerly Transport for NOLA) holds the "By Boat or by Float" second line tonight to boost awareness of the Algiers ferry.

With no private operators in line to run the ferries once its public funds run out June 30 (following the dissolve of the Crescent City Connection tolls, which powered the ferries), lawmakers have come up with some solutions to keep them running — State Sen. David Heitmeier, D-New Orleans, has a bill to put the ferry's control under a municipal authority, like the Regional Transit Authority, with funding from the state's Department of Transportation and Development. The bill passed the House yesterday.

The second line begins at the Canal Street ferry terminal and continues on the Algiers ferry and into Algiers Point where it meets the Wednesdays on the Point event. Participants are encouraged to wear innertubes, lifejackets, arm floaties, goggles, snorkles and other water gear in an effort to show "just how many people will have to cross the river by [floating] ... if they cannot cross the river by boat."

The rally gathers at 5:30 p.m. and the second line begins at 5:45 p.m.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

City, Evacuteer and Arts Council unveil "Evacuspot" in Armstrong Park

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Evacuspot sculpture unveiled in Armstrong Park.

This afternoon, outside Armstrong Park on Rampart Street, city officials unveiled one of the 17 "Evacuspots," 14-foot sculptures to identify pickup points in the event the city activates its mandatory hurricane evacuation plan. The 2013 hurricane season began June 1.

"We can't be ready enough," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "Every season is different."

The stick-man sculptures, created by artist Doug Kornfeld, indicate a pick up location where anyone can meet for a city-assisted ride out of the city. Robert X. Fogarty, founder of Evacuteer, which developed the Evacuspot idea, said the Evacuspots create public art that also serves a purpose, rather than "signs the size of a two-hour parking sign. ... These sculptures signify an evacuation we hope to never have to use," he said.

"Arts and culture intersect directly with civic goals," said Kim Cook, president of the Arts Council of New Orleans, which funded the $200,000 project.

Attached to the sculpture is a reminder about what you can and can't bring with you if you evacuate with the city: you can bring only one 22-inch by 15-inch luggage and you must have identification; pets must be in a carrier or on a leash and must be updated with vaccinations and identified; and no drugs, guns or "prohibited substances."

You can find all the Evacuspot locations listed here.

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