In 2018, the RTA’s operations and service had a direct economic benefit of over $170 million to the Greater New Orleans region. Every $1 invested in transit generates $5 for the economy, and every $10 million in transit operating investment yields $32 million in increased sales.


A typical trip by public transit emits 55% fewer greenhouse gasses than driving or ridesharing. In 2022, the City of New Orleans identified increasing transit ridership as a “key climate action priority” in its Net Zero by 2050 Climate Action Plan, which called on the city to “improve public transport in underserved communities for faster and more reliable service.” The statewide Climate Action Plan identifies “[increasing] urban, rural, and regional public transit service” as a key strategy.


Quality transit is essential for employment and healthcare access for residents who cannot drive or who do not own a car. A 2019 survey of New Orleans region transit riders found that, among riders who are residents, 67% are Black, 43% have a household income of less than $25,000 per year, and 53% do not have access to a car. Among riders who are locals, 53.4% of transit travel is work-related.



RIDE believes that a strong and equitable transit system should offer high-quality coverage to all residents in the region who need it. A good regional transit system should:

Be frequent
All high-capacity bus and streetcar lines should come at least every 10 minutes on weekdays. Other major routes should run at least every 20 minutes, neighborhood routes should run at least every 30 minutes, and all service in Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard Parishes should run at least hourly

Be regional
New Orleans should have strong regional connections between Orleans and Jefferson parish, letting residents travel seamlessly and quickly to work and other necessities across parish lines.

Be fast and reliable
Transit service should move people quickly, efficiently, and reliably; with dedicated infrastructure such as bus lanes to keep transit vehicles from getting stuck in traffic, and rapid regional service to move residents quickly between different parts of Metro New Orleans.

Connect people to jobs and amenities
Transit should serve a wide variety of destinations throughout the region, giving riders access to a range of employment, school, healthcare, and recreation options. As of 2023, the typical Orleans Parish resident can only access 35% of the region’s jobs by transit in less than an hour.

Be available nights and weekends
Transit should offer service throughout the day, including weekends and late nights, so that residents who are using transit to get to jobs outside of the 9 to 5 cycle (such as hospitality workers) can travel when they need to.



Improved frequency and hours
Improved service frequency and late-night service on most existing RTA and JP transit routes, based
on the “125% service expansion scenario” included in the New Links Final Recommended Network plan
adopted in 2021:

• All RTA and JP Transit service that was cut in 2023 is restored.
• All core RTA and JP transit lines come at least every
10 minutes on weekdays. Other major RTA lines run at least every 15-20 minutes, and RTA neighborhood lines run at least every 30 minutes.
• Frequency on many JP Transit lines would increase, and all lines run at least hourly.
• All RTA lines with overnight service run at least every 30-40 minutes, 24/7.
• Late evening service is added to some Jefferson Parish lines, with overnight service on the Airport-to-Downtown BRT corridor.

New regional Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes
The RTA and JP Transit will implement two Bus Rapid Transit routes envisioned in the 2023 Strategic Mobility Plan update:

  • East-West BRT between New Orleans East, the CBD, and Algiers
  • Airport-to-Downtown BRT via Veterans Boulevard and Canal Street.

Faster bus and streetcar service
The RTA and JP Transit will work with the City of New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, and DOTD to modernize streetcar infrastructure, install bus lanes on congested routes, and implement other transit priority improvements. RTA and JP bus operating speeds improve by 20%, while RTA streetcar operating speeds increase to 10mph.


I call upon my city and state representatives to advocate for equitable transit funding and world-class transit for everybody in the Greater New Orleans region. 

Here are some sources of local and state funding that representatives should explore (this is not a comprehensive list):

• Allocating revenue out of the general fund for transit operations as part of the Orleans and Jefferson Parish annual budgeting process or permanently dedicating a percentage of the general fund to transit
• Implementing a new millage (property tax) dedicated to transit, or rededicating an existing millage.
• Increasing the off-parking tax in Orleans Parish and dedicating those funds to transit.
• Working with the state legislature to increase state support for transit operations, including funding through the Parish Transportation Fund and the annual subsidy for the Algiers Ferry service which the RTA operates under contract with LaDOTD.

Will you sign?

Be the first to comment