Riders and transportation leaders talk about service improvements

Riders and transportation leaders talk about service improvements

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Verda Coleman has been riding the buses and streetcars for more than 30 years.

"I have no other way of traveling," she says. "I used to work in the community and so it was very easy for me to actually walk out and catch a bus."

Ride New Orleans, a local non-profit that promotes safe, convenient and affordable transportation, estimates 28-percent of New Orleanians don't own a car.

Thousands depend on the Regional Transit Authority daily but many say the service isn't always reliable.

Ride New Orleans organized a meeting to talk about what's working and what needs to be improved.

"Together I think that we can work to create the system that's going to help people meet their daily needs and also help make the region strong and economically competitive and viable for even tourists and visitors to our city alike to get around," says Rachel Heiligman, Executive Director of Ride New Orleans.

According to Ride New Orleans, public transportation in this city is still just 36-percent of what it was before Hurricane Katrina. but the group says it is slowly getting better.

The RTA Board of Commissioners invested $5 million in September to restore and add bus routes across the city.

Commissioner Flozell Daniels, Jr. says he knows some neighborhoods are undeserved, especially ones where there population hasn't returned to pre-storm numbers.

"It's a huge issue for us," says Daniels. "There is a chicken and egg element to how we're able to deliver service and the more people that ride public transportation, I think the better we'll be able to provide services so we are definitely looking for more folks to use public transit."

Coleman couldn't imagine life without RTA and wishes she could ride it even more.

"We used to have a City Park bus and we need it again," she says. We need more Carrollton buses on the line. We need more Broad buses and we definitely need more Tulane buses. We need more Magazine buses. It takes too long to travel but you do give us the service and so we thank you."

That's the kind of constructive criticism transportation officials hope to hear more of in the future.

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