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Transportation In New Orleans: Still A Long Way To Go

RIDE New Orleans
Only 12 percent of the region’s jobs are within 30 minutes-or-less via public transit. ";

The transportation advocacy group RIDE New Orleans released itsannual report on the state of transit on Wednesday. The report finds that while the city has made some improvements to the bus system, work is still needed.

Accrording to the report, riders continue to face delayed buses, long wait times and unsheltered bus stops. They have faced these problems for years, the report said. But RIDE is optimistic about transitioning the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) back to public control. The RTA operates the city's buses and streetcars.

Alex Wiggins became CEO of the RTA in May. He is looking at many areas for possible improvement.

“How do we connect the CBD to the airport? How do we provide better service in Algiers? In East New Orleans? How do we connect the parishes?” he asked.

Wiggins said the RTA is collaborating more with Jefferson Parish. The RTA added a line to the Ochsner Medical Center on Jefferson Highway, and it’s conducting a year-long study to improve and expand the system. 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell also responded to the new report, saying transit is a priority for her administration.

“The future of our city rests always with our people," Cantrell said. "And we have to meet them where they are, regardless of where they live in the city.”

The city has approved 50 new bus shelters, but only seven have been installed so far. It also has plans to expand bike paths.

Report recommendations include expanding bus lines, speeding up commutes and adding more shelters for riders.  RIDE says some of the money needed for improvements could come from hotel sales tax revenue.

Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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