Proposal to run ferries includes $2 fares each way

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 18, 2013 at 6:24 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:14 AM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- The private transit company in line to take control of the New Orleans area ferry system has released its proposed fare schedule.

The plan by Veolia Transportation calls for most riders to pay $2 a trip to cross the Mississippi River.

Reporters were handed copies of the proposed fares after Thursday's special meeting called by the Regional Transit Authority.

"We will now be scheduling interviews at a later date," said RTA and Veolia spokeswoman Patrice Bell Mercandel.

For now, Veolia, the company already running the buses and streetcars for the RTA, is letting the fare schedule do the talking.

According to the proposal, it would cost $2 each way to cross the river. Vehicles would cost $2 for the driver and $1 for each additional passenger.

There would also be a $75 monthly pass and $5 day pass.

The plan would discount fares for seniors and there would be no charge for children under 2 years old.

There could also be a higher fare for special events such as Mardi Gras and French Quarter Festival.

Some riders cautioned Veolia, if fares are set too high, it may be too expensive for some people.

"I think there's no significant opposition to fares on the ferry," said Algiers Point resident Skip Gallagher. "There's no real opposition I think. But, there would be opposition to larger fares."

"I hope there's some kind of fair structure so that it comes in close to the dollar range or dollar and a quarter range," said Friends of the Ferry founder Fay Faron.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development took over ferry operations this month on a limited budget.

For now, the last crossing is at 6:45 p.m. weeknights and 8:15 p.m. on weekends.

Riders are hoping Veolia will bring back a midnight crossing.

"We have a bed and breakfast on the Point, and August we have cancellation after cancellation because people have no way to get back and forth across the river," said Hillary Morse.

While it could be months before Veolia has its final business plan in place, riders are happy the company is taking on the challenge.

"I want to really thank the Veolia team and the RTA Board for stepping up when no one else would to figure out if there is anyway possible to save our ferry," said Rachel Heiligman from the non-profit group RideNOLA.

"We're all willing to pay a reasonable fare to use the ferry," said Kathy Calhoun from Algiers Point. "We don't want anything for nothing. What ever you need, I can tell you the community is here to support you."

The RTA voted to hold a special public hearing on the proposed fares.

It will be held on Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. in the New Orleans City Council chambers.

Veolia also released this fare schedule for the Chalmette Ferry.

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