Riders say ferry changes will create hardships
New Orleans, La. - Kim Burton moved to New Orleans from Philadelphia, where she had a number of different ways to get to work. Burton now relies on the ferry from Algiers Point to Canal Street.
Her fiancee also rides, taking it to his construction job at the new LSU hospital. He has to be at work by 6:30.
Now, with the Department of Transportation and Development scaling back the ferry's hours, Burton has no idea what they're going to do.
"He's going to have to figure out the bus because the bus doesn't get over here before 6:00 from our side, and that's going to be a hardship on a lot of people," she says. "That's the sad part about it. It's going to be a hardship."
When voters rejected renewing tolls on the Crescent City Connection, dedicated funding for the Algiers and Gretna ferries went away.
The Gretna ferry will stop service after June 30. The DOTD says the Canal Street Ferry will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, beginning July 1. The boat will operate about eight hours a day Saturdays and SundayS.
Our partners at The Lens learned cars soon won't be able to cross via the Algiers-Canal ferry. With the Gretna ferry shutting down, the DOTD plans to move the smaller boat to Canal Street. The ferry will be pedestrian-only in less than two weeks.
D'Juan Hernandez, president of the Algiers Economic Development Foundation, says the changes will have a great impact on the organization's weekly festival.
"More than half the participants at Wednesdays on the Point catch the ferry," he says. "What happens once the ferry's not operating after 7 o'clock? Wednesdays on the Point doesn't end until 9. A lot of the hospitality workers are catching the ferry between 7 and 10 in the evening. What happens to them and their ability to cross the river?"
A bill signed into law last week allows the Regional Transit Authority to take over operation of the ferry, though an RTA official told FOX 8 they haven't reached an agreement yet.
Mayor Landrieu says it's something the city will have to work on soon. "Now we're going to have to huddle up, work with the West Bank legislators and we'll talk to the RTA and talk to the community and we'll figure out a pathway forward," he says.
That plan will likely include a fare for passengers.
Kim Burton is willing to pay. "It's $1.25 for the bus," she says. "I come from where it's $2 just to get on a bus so it's a big difference. if it costs $2 to get on the ferry of course I would pay it."