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Ride New Orleans: Setting the Transit Agenda

Since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, the city's transit recovery has been sluggish and asymmetrical. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) made the decision to prioritize streetcar restoration and expansion at the expense of bus service, limiting economic mobility for residents. As a result, even today the average New Orleanian with a car can reach 86 percent of the region’s jobs in 30 minutes or less, but the average New Orleanian relying on transit can only reach 11 percent of those jobs in the same time period.

The advocacy group Ride New Orleans formed in 2009 out of a growing sense that the comfort of the average New Orleanian wasn't being prioritized by the RTA. In just a few short years, the group is already setting the transit agenda. Ride has organized bus riders into a powerful force, releasing influential State of Transit reports and sparking policy changes at the RTA such as increased bus frequency and overnight service.

But perhaps most importantly, they've strengthened communication channels between riders and the transit agency. The RTA recently released its Strategic Mobility Plan with a specific to do list of improvements. It largely is informed by contributions from transit riders.

But don't just take our word for it - watch for yourself!

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  • Susan Pantell

    Great film. Wonder where they get their money from.

  • RideTHISbike

    It costs more to run New Orleans' transit agency than any other US city of a similar size. To better serve transit riders in New Orleans, the system must be run more efficiently. Perhaps a start would be to cancel Veolia Transportation's contract to manage the system. Veolia makes a 5 percent profit margin on the cost of running the system, which is approximately $100 million. Although New Orleans desperately needed help after Katrina when transit operations were farmed out to Veolia, it's been almost a decade since Veolia won the contract and riders are still poorly served.