New Orleans — Tourists Favored over Locals?
New Orleans' recent boom in streetcar construction is targeted more towards tourists than locals, panelists at a recent conference said, according to the Uptown Messenger.
"After the new Loyola Avenue streetcar opened in 2013 just before the Super Bowl, the Regional Transit Authority clipped the end of the popular "Freret jet" bus line," the story reports.
"Prior to the Loyola streetcar opening, the Freret and Martin Luther King bus lines were among the most direct lines running from Uptown to Canal Street. Now, however, the line stops at the Union Passenger Terminal just past the Pontchartrain Expressway, and riders who wish to continue on must wait for the streetcar to arrive, then pay 25 cents to transfer."
As a result, ridership on the Freret line has dropped 42 percent.
"The change, said Rachel Heiligman of RIDE New Orleans, reflects the widening gap between streetcar and bus-line recovery in the city where 19 percent of residents don't have access to a car," according to the report.
"In terms of daily public-transportation trips, the city has only restored 45 percent of service since Hurricane Katrina. But streetcar service has grown to 103 percent of its former trips, while bus service has decreased to 35 percent of its former status."