The oft-maligned Red Stick Trolley — formerly known as the Garden District Trolly — may be trundling into the sunset.
Transportation officials have begun the formal process which could shut the line down, Capital Area Transit System Chairman Jim Brandt told the organization’s finance and executive committee this week.
Other low-performing lines could be on the chopping block as well, he added.
The trolley analysis will look at ridership numbers, fare collections and operating costs, Brandt said in an interview. He expects the results to be ready for the CATS board next month.
“It’s clear the numbers do not look good,” he remarked.
If the CATS board decides to terminate the route, the Metro Council will have to confirm the decision, which could take a few more months.
The Garden District line marked a departure for CATS. An overwhelming majority of riders take city buses because they have no other way of getting to work, school and other appointments. But residents along the trolley route by and large own their own cars, and public transportation failed to win over the so-called “riders of choice” the trolley aimed to attract.
Transit officials have said they created the trolley line in early 2015 at the request of people who live in the Garden District, but participation dropped to about three riders per day by the beginning of 2016.
CATS is also considering whether to begin formal reviews and possible elimination of other low-performing routes. Brandt declined to identify specific lines, saying it is still early in the process.
Making hay in Gonzales, but you’ll need a permit
Residents of the small city of Gonzales in largely rural Ascension Parish can now get a pass on letting their grass grow if they have lots large enough to qualify. They’ll just have to get a permit from the city for a hay operation.
The Gonzales City Council this week amended a portion of its ordinance on weeds and grass in order to allow homeowners to plant and harvest hay. The permits require at least two contiguous acres for the planting and harvesting of hay.
The property owner also has to ensure the hay isn’t grown any closer than 50 feet to a building owned by someone else, unless they have written permission to do so — and provide that written permission from the neighbor to the city.
The hay crop is to be cut when it reaches 36 inches in height, according to the amended ordinance, and has to be cut at least once a year. So, it’s not a total pass on cutting the grass.
Advocate staff writers Steve Hardy, Ellyn Couvillion and Andrea Gallo contributed to this article.