Baton Rouge, La. - Riders who use LA Swift to travel between New Orleans and Baton Rouge will have an extra month of service before it is slated to officially end. On Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced that the federally funded bus service will be extended until July 31, 2013. State officials say the extension allow local governments the opportunity to formalize a plan for their takeover of this local transit service.
LA Swift bus service was initiated after Hurricane Katrina, created as a temporary option for affected citizens to travel between New Orleans and Baton Rouge as they recovered from the storm. Recently, it was announced that federal funding was running out, and the service was scheduled to end on June 30, 2013. DOTD will utilize under-run funds to extend service for the additional month.
Local entities are now exploring options to provide the approximate $750,000 per year in local funds to match a decreased federal fund contribution. At this time, however, no additional funding has been announced to subsidize the service.
The LA Swift Service began on Oct. 31, 2005. The service was previously run with a combination of funding through a Federal Transit Association (FTA) grant and a $5 passenger charge per one-way trip. Approximately 200 individuals utilize this service on a daily basis.
While an increase in fares would offset the operating cost, FTA regulations do not allow those revenues to be applied toward the required local match; consequently, regardless of any reasonable fare increase, local funds would still be required.
For more information, visit the LA Swift Web site at www.laswift.com or call 1-877-94-SWIFT (1-877-947-9438).