West Bank commuters looking forward to longer hours for the Canal Street-Algiers Point ferry will have to wait two more weeks before the new schedule goes into effect, according to Veolia Transportation, the company that manages the Regional Transit Authority buses and streetcars and the New Orleans ferries.
The longer weekday hours were scheduled to start Monday under a plan Veolia unveiled to Algiers Point residents last month. But finding and training the employees needed to staff the boats proved more difficult than expected, according to a news release Friday from Veolia.
The extended schedule instead will start Aug. 4, the release said.
Veolia, which took over the ferry system earlier this year, had to delay the expanded schedule so it could train the engineers it has hired to meet U.S. Coast Guard guidelines for staffing the vessels, Veolia Vice President Justin Augustine said. Those engineers are responsible for a variety of tasks related to the operation and maintenance of the vessels.
The expanded hours will keep the ferry running from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every weekday, several hours longer than under the current schedule.
Weekend hours will remain unchanged: from 10:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and from 10:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The extended schedule is being funded with part of the unclaimed refunds from the now-abolished tolls on the Crescent City Connection. That money is expected to cover the expanded hours for about three years.
In the meantime, Veolia officials have said they are working to increase ferry ridership and bring in new vessels and expanded service.
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