Wed June 12, 2013
Survey Says LA Swift Shut Down Could Hurt Jobs
State plans to shut down the low-cost bus from Baton Rouge to New Orleans may harm economic ties between the cities.
According to a survey released Wednesday by The Center for Planning Excellence, more than half of LA Swift riders use the service to get to and from work.
Funding from the Federal Transit Authority for LA Swift runs out at the end of the month. The bus began running on federal dollars as a recovery measure after Hurricane Katrina. The service, now considered a commuter bus, no longer qualifies for that type of funding.
More than half of survey respondents said they would be willing to pay more to keep the service up and running, but Jodi Conachen, with DOTD, says that won’t help.
"The issue, as far as a potential increase in fare," Conachen said, "is that the FTA doesn’t count that towards the local match. So even if riders did contribute more, for instance, right now riders pay $5, if they wanted to pay $10 – there still has to be a local dollar amount that comes from a specific entity."
The state, or local governments, would have to put up $750,000 to keep the service alive. It costs between $3,500 and $4,000 per person annually to keep the bus running.