On Thursday, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will host a meeting for paratransit consumers to voice any questions or concerns about bus and streetcar services in the city. Members of the RTA board, along with bus operators and other staffers will be on hand to answer questions, according to Patrice Bell Mercadel, a spokeswoman for the RTA.
The annual meeting will take place in the RTA board room at 2817 Canal St. at 4 p.m. As a reminder, all transit users are still invited to apply for one of 11 spots on the RTA's newly formed Riders Advisory Committee, which seeks input from a broad range of riders. The application is available here.
On the heels of its third annual Bike to Work Day earlier this month, the New Orleans bicycle advocacy group Bike Easy has powered up weekly bike trains to keep people self-propelled on their commutes.
Bike trains are groups of bikers who ride to work together, led by a volunteer conductor. The trains are for everyone, from experienced riders to new ones, and aim to not only help beginners negotiate routes, rules of the road, potholes and other obstacles, but also to encourage a solid biking community for commuters.
Two Mid-City routes leave Bayou St. John at Orleans Avenue each Thursday at 7:45 a.m. One train heads to UNO and the other ends in the CBD. A Friday Uptown ride leaves the St. Charles Avenue entrance of Audubon Park at 7:45 a.m. and ends in the CBD. That train will stop at St. Charles Avenue and Antonine Street at 8:15 a.m. to pick up more riders.
Bike Easy is considering additional routes, too. Visit the organization's website for more information and to see route maps of the weekly rides.
Thanks to efforts like these, the Alliance for Biking and Walking recently ranked New Orleans eighth in the nation for bike commuting for 2014. That's up two spots from 2013, when New Orleans ranked 10th.
Ride New Orleans hosted its scheduled "day of action" yesterday evening to bring awareness to the lack of infrastructure at what the organization has dubbed the "CBD transit hub": the intersection of Elk Place and Canal Street stretching down toward Lasalle Street. Earlier that day, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced that it would hold a press conference before Ride's day of action. It announced at that press conference that it's working with the city to advance plans for a consolidated transit hub in the CBD.
Rachel Heiligman, Ride's executive director, said the purpose of the day was "to start a coordinated dialogue between transit riders, community members, business leaders and public officials focused on solutions for improving this critical point in our transit system."
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.
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)
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.
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.
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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