Parish could get fixed-route transit service by next year

Parish would get bus stops if plan is approved

Increasing requests for a fixed-route service with the transit system has prompted the River Parishes Transit Authority (RPTA) to consider implementing the service in the St. Charles Parish area by next year.

“Going to a fixed route is really public transit,” said RPTA Operations Manager Evangeline Jackson Martin, who announced the move at the Parish Council’s Nov. 13 meeting.

“We’ve had several inquiries about the fixed route service and the board believes that is something it can do in the future, although it entails quite a bit of work,” Martin said.

The inquiries have come from council members, as well as passengers, she said.

“Everyone is talking about it and we want to put it in action for the future,” Martin said.

To initiate the move would require approval by parish presidents, as well as RPTA’s own board of directors, Martin said. Funding also would be needed.

If approved by the RPTA board and parish officials, the service would step up from its current fee-based service or demand response system to one with specific places at specific times in St. Charles, St. James the Baptist and Jefferson parishes, she said.

“There is no other parish that operates like these three parishes currently,” Martin said.

Having the fixed route system would be a first for St. Charles Parish, she added.

If the route is approved, proposed stops in the parish include Walmart in Boutte, the intersection of Highway 90 and Paul Maillard Road, and the intersection of Airline Highway and Ormond Boulevard.

“The most important thing is getting the mindset with clients to take advantage of a fixed-route system, and how it helps lower traffic, which is growing and getting a better idea of what transit is about,” she said.St. Charles Parish residents make up 28 percent of the system’s total riders in the parishes served. Last year, 14,945 people used the system.

“There are many people traveling from parish to parish,” Martin said. “We want to help the economy grow and, to do that, people need transportation to get from point A to point B.”

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