RTA To Consider Expanding Services On Several Routes

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Regional Transit Authority is considering adding service to 22 of its routes, including overnight service on several lines.

         The New Orleans Advocate’s Jeff Adelson reports the new services, which are expected to come online in March, will be discussed at a public hearing Wednesday.

         Overall, the expansion will mean a 20 percent increase in weekend trips, said Justin Augustine, general manager of the RTA for Transdev, the company that manages the agency's day-to-day operations.

         "These service changes are intended to touch every part of the community," Augustine said.

         When combined with a previous service expansion, the RTA will have invested about $10 million in expanded service over the past two years, Augustine said. That money comes from improvements in the agency's revenue stream, including a boost in the sales tax revenue that funds about two-thirds of its operations.

         Nine routes would add overnight service under the proposed changes: No. 39 Tulane, No. 47 Canal-Cemeteries streetcar, No. 52 St. Bernard-Paris Avenue, No. 55 Elysian Fields, No. 63 New Orleans East Owl, No. 84 Galvez, No. 88 St. Claude, No. 94 Broad and No. 114 Gen. DeGaulle-Tullis.

         Weekend service is to be increased or begun on other lines: No. 10 Tchoupitoulas, No. 27 Louisiana, No. 51 St. Bernard-St. Anthony, No. 57 Franklin, No. 60 Hayne and No. 102 Gen. Meyer.

         Some lines will also get longer routes or changes to the route map.

         The transit system also plans to start an express bus to the airport. The bus, which will run 11 times a day starting at 5:10 a.m., will initially be targeted at airport workers or those involved in the construction of the new North Terminal, though Augustine said he expects it will eventually serve airline passengers as well.

         Jacquelyn Dadakis, president of the transit-advocacy organization Ride New Orleans, said the proposed enhancements are a step in the right direction for a system that has been lagging, particularly when it comes to the frequency of trips and overnight service.

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