RTA will waive transit fares on election days

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NEW ORLEANS – On Thursday, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced that it will waive all transit fares on future election days.  This policy is the result of the resolution adopted by the RTA Board of Commissioners at the June 23rd board meeting, which will waive RTA transit fares for bus, streetcar, ferry, and paratransit services.

On Thursday, the New Orleans City Council passed a resolution, in support for RTA’s temporary fare waiver making this RTA policy change possible.

RTA transit riders will have the ability to access all modes of transit at no charge for a full 24-hours on city identified election days. The agency will waive fare across all transit modes for the first time on July 11, 2020.

“As the RTA continues to build a world-class transit system, we are placing an intensive focus on leveraging transportation to contribute to the regional efforts to build healthy and equitable communities,” said RTA CEO, Alex Wiggins. “Partnering with the City of New Orleans to remove access to transportation as a key barrier to residents exercising their right to vote, is an important step in this process.”

“This resolution speaks to two core issues close to my heart: providing equitable transportation options for our residents, and encouraging and not suppressing voter turnout. I’d like to thank the RTA Board for their leadership on these issues,” said Mayor Cantrell.

“It is our responsibility to do all we can to ensure accessible and fair elections. During this critical time when many people are struggling financially, we must ease burdens that could interfere with a person’s ability to vote. This resolution supports the work of the RTA to ensure that transportation on Election Day will not be an obstacle. I hope that this initiative can be a model for other cities around Louisiana and the country to follow,” said Councilmember Helena Moreno.

“I’m reminded of conversations with my mother about her early life and the stumbling blocks deliberately placed in their paths to prevent them from exercising their right to vote,” said Councilmember Jason Williams.  “I’m reminded of my many talks with Jerome Smith about his fight to achieve the full measure rights promised to all American citizens. When voting rights were denied, our voices were muted, our interests were not represented and the basic needs of our communities were neither addressed or met. Despite the sacrifice and toil of countless men and women to achieve the 1965 Voting Rights Act, we still have laws on the books in the US that still serve to rob people of their rights. We have seen examples of voter suppression around the country in this current election season. It is incumbent upon us to constantly look for ways to make sure the voices of those who wish to be heard may be heard and counted at the polls.”

“The Council has a history of supporting New Orleanian’s right to vote. It is important to our democratic process that voters can move freely with easier access to the polls. To that end, I passed a motion in December 2018 preventing any road race from being held the same day as an election. I’m proud to further Council’s efforts to make election day even more accessible,” said Councilmember Joe Giarrusso.

“Across this country there are active efforts to suppress voting. I am elated to live in a city where we do all we can do to encourage everyone citizen to vote. Declaring all future citywide election days as free ride days is a model that I hope every city implements,” said Councilmember Jay Banks.

“Elections should be free and fair and that includes transportation for those who need it. I hope that Orleans voters will take advantage of this resource and vote,” said Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen.

“Every person in New Orleans who wants to exercise their fundamental right to vote should have access to reliable and affordable transportation. I am excited that the RTA is helping voters overcome a barrier that may have kept them from participating in the democratic process, offering public transit rides at no cost to ensure everyone regardless of where they live in the city, age or political affiliation can get to the polls.” said Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer.

For more information visit RTA’s website at www.RTAforward.org or call Rideline at 504-248-3900.

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