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Algiers Ferry changes

Algiers Ferry Budget Cuts

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08/13/13

Community Reacts to RTA’s Algiers Ferry Fare Structure

“Without the ferry we could be just like an island, ” says business owner Hiller Moise.

These last 14 years Moise has owned and operated Bed & Breakfast on the Point on Algiers Point.

She’s been dealing with ferry drama since the 80’s and says this summer’s threats and reduction in hours has almost cut profits in half.

“It’s a three block walk and seven minute ride, and now we have to tell them when they call that we really don’t know if we’re going to have the ferry.  We really don’t know what the hours are going to be,” says Moise.

Today the RTA announced a ferry fare structure.  It’s main target is the Algiers to Canal Street ferry.

- A one way ticket would cost $2 a person.

- A one day pass would set you back $7.

- A monthly pass would run $65.

- Driving across the ferry would cost $2, plus an additional $2 per passenger.

The RTA has yet to comment on ferry hours saying at this point they cannot say what services they would offer.  It’s one of the main concerns in Algiers where many people have had to cut their day shot 4, 5, even 6 hours.

“It’s too early,” says one passenger, “lots of people don’t even get off until 10.”

“Time is money and I can’t even work overtime because this is preventing me,” says passenger John Gonzales.

It’s a dilemma Moise hopes gets resolved soon so that business on Algiers Point can get back to normal.

“It’s a hardship and you still have to keep the lights on,  the air conditioning going and everything else.,” says Moise.

You may have to bring an extra dollar with you next time you hop on the Algiers Ferry. On Tuesday, the RTA’s board of directors approved a $2 fee for passengers.

Earlier this month, residents sounded off at a public hearing saying the fee was unreasonable.

The rate increase now goes to the city council for a final vote next Thursday.

The New Orleans City Council Chamber was packed with concerned citizens, who had their final say about the proposed fare structure for the ferry system.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter was there.

As the RTA’s Board of Commissioners considers how to operate the ferry system, without revenue from Crescent City Connection tolls, people who rely on the ferries to cross the Mississippi River gathered Monday to send one final plea.

“People don’t have the $75 dollars to buy a monthly pass,” business owner Jan Finner said.

Michelle Moltz takes the ferry to work 5-days a week.

“I would like to see it included as part of the RTA system; be included on the $55 dollar monthly pass not have the additional $75 dollars ferry only pass,” passenger Michelle Moltz said.

“The proposed fare structure that we came up with as you’ll see really changes from what you have today,” said Michael Anderson of the RTA Advisory Committee.

The proposed fare structure would raise one-way fares from one dollar, per passenger, to two dollars. A monthly pass would cost $75 dollars.

The boost would help pay for increased services, infrastructure upgrades, and special service during special events.

“You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to understand if it costs 8.8 million to operate the thing, but you only have 6 million dollars you’re 2.8 million dollars short.”

Point well taken, but people here want the board to consider their needs too.

Like having the original service hours restored from 6am-to-midnight. It’s a request that is especially important for small business owners, and workers in the Hospitality Industry.

“If they don’t have the ferries to get to work, they don’t get to work,” Finner said. “They’re single moms, they’re young people, and they’re college students.” “They really need the ferry to be working on a regular basis.”

“The reduction in hours has sufficiently affected the business in the point. It has cut the sales that I had form June to July 50%,” business owner Jennifer Blanchard said.

A special board meeting will be held Tuesday, August 13th to consider the proposed fare structure.

If approved, it will be submitted to the New Orleans City Council for final approval.

How much would you pay to hop on the Algiers Ferry … which used to be free?

Right now, cars pay $1, but pedestrians ride free.

The RTA is planning a public hearing on a plan to charge $2 per person – whether you’re in a vehicle or not!

A statement from the RTA released Thursday:

“Today, The Regional Transit Authority Board of Commissioners authorized staff to schedule a public hearing regarding a proposed fare structure for the ferry system. The public hearing is scheduled for August 5, 2013 at 5PM in City Hall Chambers.

“Members of the community can officially submit public comment via mail, email to ferry@norta.com or at the public hearing.”

If you’ve been confused about the recent changes to the Algiers Ferry schedule get this: last week, the state said the ferry service would not allow vehicles anymore, starting today.

Today, the state says it has a temporary medium-sized ferry to carry pedestrians and vehicles across the river. However, the hours will still be cut: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and a shortened weekend schedule as well.

 

Here’s the full information on the new schedule:

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Beginning Monday, July 1, 2013, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) will begin new hours of operation temporarily utilizing the Motor Vessel Louis B. Porterie, a medium-sized ferry servicing vehicles and pedestrians, at the Algiers Point to Canal Street route. The Porterie will be in service while the permanent ferry, the M/V Col. Frank X. Armiger, is out of service.

The Armiger’s generator is currently in need of repair and DOTD is waiting on a second proposal to determine the cost. The Armiger will be the primary vessel once it repaired and cleared for service by the U.S. Coast Guard. As of now, there is no estimated time frame for when the Arminger will return.

As a reminder, the Algiers/Canal ferry will now operate Monday-Thursday from 7:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., with final trips from Algiers Point at 6:15 p.m., and from Canal Street at 6:30 p.m. On Fridays, the vessel will operate from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. with final trips from Algiers Point at 7:45 p.m. and from Canal St. at 8:00 p.m.

On Saturdays, the ferry will operate from 10:45 a.m. to 8:15 p.m., with final trips being made from Algiers Point at 7:45 p.m., and Canal St. at 8 p.m. On Sundays, service will run from 10:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., with the last trip from Algiers Point at 5:45 p.m., and from Canal St. at 6 p.m.

The Chalmette Ferry, which services the route to and from Lower Algiers, will continue to operate its normal schedule making its last trip from Lower Algiers at 8:30 p.m. and from Chalmette at 8:45 p.m. The Gretna ferry is no longer in service.

For the Fourth of July holiday, DOTD will operate the Algiers/Canal ferry starting at 7:15 a.m. to 10:15 p.m., with final trips from Algiers Point at 9:45 p.m., and from Canal St. at 10 p.m. This schedule will also be in effect for Wednesdays on the Point, a local concert series in Algiers, which has remaining events dates of July 4th, 10th and 17th.

Pedestrians may use the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) bus service as an alternative route to the east bank. RTA bus routes and schedules can be found at www.norta.com or by calling 504-248-3900.

More information about the CCCD ferries can be found at www.dotd.louisiana.gov/operations/cccd/. Travelers can follow the ferries on Twitter.com at Canal_Ferry and Chalmette_Ferry.  For traffic information, dial 511 or visit www.511la.org. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511).

algiers-ferryMondays-Thursdays: 7:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Final ferries leave: Algiers Point at 6:15 p.m. Canal St. at 6:30 p.m.

Fridays: 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Final ferries leave: Algiers Point at 7:45 p.m. Canal St. at  8 p.m.

Saturdays: 10:45 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Final ferries leave: Algiers Point at 7:45 p.m. Canal St. at 8 p.m.

Sundays: 10:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.  Final ferries leave: Algiers Point at 5:45 p.m. Canal St. at 6 p.m.

The Algiers ferry will transport pedestrians only starting July first.

The hours of operation will also be reduced.

Those who rely on the ferry are now treading uncertain waters.

The Department of Transportation says budget constraints are the reason for scaled back operations and new foot traffic only rules.

The Regional Transit Authority has plans to take over ferry operations by September, but nothing has been finalized.

There’s political optimism the RTA  take-over of the Algiers ferry  will be complete by September when vehicles and hours of operations could  be restored.

As of 3:00 Tuesday afternoon, the Algiers Ferry was once again operating.

Monday, the DOTD closed the ferry for maintenance.  It needed a part for its main engine.

After the work was finished, the Coast Guard had to inspect the ferry before it could return to service.

Future repairs for the ferry could be in jeopardy after voters decided earlier this year against renewing the tolls that pay for them.

Now a group is raising funds to try to buy the Algiers Ferry and serve drinks on it.  Organizers of a fundraiser say they need $3 million to turn the plan into reality.

As of last check Tuesday, the group had raised just $337 with 59 days left for their fundraiser.

Rainy weather Wednesday morning caused workers to delay repairs on the Algiers Ferry for a day.

So the work will take place on Thursday, closing the ferry from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Crews will make repairs to the Algiers Point Terminal which was damaged by Hurricane Isaac in August.

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