$75 million Rampart streetcar project delays locals getting to work, group says
NEW ORLEANS -- Sheila Culmer takes public transit to work at Harrah's Casino from her home in the 7th Ward.
Her 12-hour shifts at the casino are book-ended by rides that take almost 45 minutes each way, including a trip along the Rampart-St. Claude streetcar line. Culmer isn't not alone in her long trek to work.
Ride New Orleans, a public-transportation advocacy group, on Wednesday released a 30-page report that highlights improvements and shortcomings of the Regional Transit Authority.
The group says the $75 million streetcar addition to Rampart Street hasn’t helped locals who use public transportation to get to work.
The report found that people who live near the North Rampart-St. Claude corridor lost the ability to get to more than 1,000 jobs in 30 minutes of fewer after the line opened and some bus routes were moved or made less frequent to make way for the streetcars.
The study said that for people with a car, about 86 percent can get to work within 30 minutes. For residents who rely on the RTA, only 11 percent can get to work in 30 minutes.
The report also highlighted some of the improvements RTA has made. By 2018, the service plans on having “real time” data available to riders, that show where streetcars and buses are along the system.
The group also found four riders, including Culmer, who take the RTA system to work every day. It asked the riders about their specific commutes and their vision of an ideal plan for public transportation in the city.