The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority plans to expand bus service in neighborhoods from New Orleans East to Algiers in the fall, and it wants to hear what the public thinks about the changes.
The agency on Tuesday released a list of routes that would be affected by proposed service improvements, along with a schedule of public meetings where transit riders will be invited to offer feedback.
Combined with extra hours and stops added back in January, the upgrades scheduled to come online in September will amount to about $5 million worth of extra service, RTA spokeswoman Patrice Bell Mercadel said.
“We have some lines that the community has requested we restore,” she said. “As soon as we get the feedback and authority from our board of commissioners, we’ll move toward implementation.”
Under the agency’s tentative proposal, two previously discontinued lines — in the Carrollton area and Algiers — would be put back in service. Routes in the Leonidas, New Orleans East and Desire areas would get new connections. Lines in New Orleans East and Algiers would get faster travel times. And various other routes would see adjustments in their schedule and routes.
The agency did not immediately release details about the changes or maps of each route. Mercadel said more specifics will be given out before public “open houses” scheduled to begin July 7.
A final public hearing will take place July 16.
The agency’s staff then will report back to its board of commissioners on July 22, and the board will approve a final plan on Aug. 26.
In the meantime, the RTA also will have to conduct a so-called equity analysis, a report required by the federal government certifying that any significant changes in public transit service won’t end up causing disproportionate harm to minority groups.
Whatever service changes receive final approval are slated to go into effect Sept. 21.