Mass Transit - 14

NEW ORLEANS RTA
tourism is a major factor in New
Orleans, where the population can
swell by several hundred thousand
during key times of year.
"To be honest, we feel we
have the equivalent of a Ph.D. in
managing events of all sizes," said
Jared Munster, the RTA's interim
executive director. "We are constantly tweaking and improving
our operational plans, security
plans and passenger/public information strategies to ensure that
people (whether locals or tourists)
are well aware of route, time and
frequency changes, plus any special service routes we institute for
a particular event."
New Orleans is among the
top 50 metropolitan areas with
the most transit travel ranked by
ridership per capita, according to
the American Public Transportation Association's 2018 Public
Transportation Fact Book. New
Orleans ranks higher than cities
with two to three times its population, beating St. Louis, Mo.,
Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz., Houston,
Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth
metropolitan area and the Tampa,
Fla., metropolitan area.
"At a time when most transit
agencies are losing passengers,
the RTA's bus and streetcar
ridership has risen in the past
decade to what is now, about 18
million passengers each year,"
said Munster.
A feat made sweeter with the
memory of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. The storm's flood waters and
debris ravaged New Orleans leaving offices and facilities in shambles and most buses and many
streetcars destroyed or damaged.
"The Regional Transit Authority's transit system embodies resilience and restoration," said Daniels. "With the perseverance of
RTA's skilled maintenance crews
and other employees, the commitment of city government and the
Federal Transit Administration
and the RTA Board, the effective
action of Transdev (the RTA's private sector operator) and many

14 |

more stakeholders, the RTA's system was re-built from the ground
up in about seven years."
While the recovery has been
impressive, the question remains,
"Would New Orleans' public transit have been different had the
storm spared the city?"
Daniels says it's hard to find
an apples-to-apples comparison
for several reasons: Population
in the city remains 10-15 percent
below pre-Katrina levels, settlement patterns have changed
and policy impacting RTA has
changed. One example he provides involves the city's public
school students, who used the
RTA network pre-Katrina and
provided tens of thousands of additional riders every day on the
RTA system, but that work is now
contracted to different transportation providers for each school.
"While a comparison is difficult, the RTA is proud of how far
we've come. Katrina destroyed or
flooded nearly 80 percent of the
RTA's fleet and nearly all our
maintenance, operating and
administrative facilities. Yet, in
the past 10 years, we have nearly
doubled service levels (including an 87 percent growth in bus
service), while dropping system-wide operating costs by 40
percent. Our operating efficiency

Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | APRIL/MAY 2019

FERRIES ARE the
most recent mode
to enter under
RTA management.
RTA assumed
control of the ferry
system in 2014.

"The

Regional
Transit
Authority's
transit system
embodies
resilience and
restoration."
- FLOZELL
DANIELS, JR.,
Regional
Transit
Authority's
Board
of Commissioners
Chairman

is now better than it was before
Hurricane Katrina and those
efficiencies have allowed us to
continue to expand service for
our riders," said Daniels.
RTA provides 76 percent of
pre-Katrina service and has seen
ridership grow 62 percent since
the storm. RTA has also restored
or expanded administrative, operating and maintenance facilities,
as well as expanded its streetcar
infrastructure with three major
extensions since 2011.
RTA's current challenge is an
aging bus fleet. Munster says RTA
will be adding eight new buses
this year, with 17 more planned
for 2020, in addition to 50 new
transit shelters.
"There is much more work to
do. That's why we worked closely
with the community to develop
our 20-year Strategic Mobility
Plan (SMP), which sets a clear
direction for the RTA and the
transit services that we want as a
region," explained Munster. "We
are currently performing a Comprehensive Operational Analysis
in partnership with our Regional
Planning Commission to ensure
that we maximize the number of
people who can get to job centers
via our routes and our system. Ensuring that we stay committed to
our core principles of equity and


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Mass Transit

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Mass Transit

Ad Index
Editor's Notebook - Showing, as Well as Telling
People and Places
Transit as a Community Affair
U.S. Bus Fleets Report
Forming Paratransit Partnerships Through Alternative Methods
Rail Systems Get Powered Up
Operating a Self Driving City
Best Practices - Deployment of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses
Products - In Focus: Buses and Components
Classifieds
Social Hubs - Transit Post Highlights From Around the Web
Mass Transit - 1
Mass Transit - 2
Mass Transit - 3
Mass Transit - 4
Mass Transit - 5
Mass Transit - Ad Index
Mass Transit - 7
Mass Transit - Editor's Notebook - Showing, as Well as Telling
Mass Transit - 9
Mass Transit - People and Places
Mass Transit - 11
Mass Transit - Transit as a Community Affair
Mass Transit - 13
Mass Transit - 14
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Mass Transit - 18
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Mass Transit - U.S. Bus Fleets Report
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Mass Transit - Forming Paratransit Partnerships Through Alternative Methods
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Mass Transit - Rail Systems Get Powered Up
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Mass Transit - Operating a Self Driving City
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Mass Transit - Best Practices - Deployment of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses
Mass Transit - Classifieds
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Mass Transit - Social Hubs - Transit Post Highlights From Around the Web
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