Land Use

Live blog: RTA approves new fares for Algiers, Chalmette ferries

Update: The board approved a revised fare structure for the Algiers ferry and the original proposal for the Chalmette ferry. The changes to the Algiers fares:

  • There will be a day pass that allows people to ride the Algiers ferry, buses and streetcars. That will cost $7, compared to the $5 originally proposed for a ferry-only day pass.
  • RTA will offer a five-day pass for the ferry ($18) and one for the ferry, streetcars and buses ($30).
  • The cost of a 31-day pass for the ferry will be $65, not $75 as originally proposed.
  • RTA will offer a 31-day pass that includes the Algiers ferry, buses and streetcars. It will cost $105.

Justin Augustine, an official with Veolia Transportation, the contractor for the Regional Transit Authority, said the fares are needed “to continue their extended services into late nights, and also weekends.” Later Tuesday, he said RTA hopes to restore ferry service to 18 hours a day.

For further details about the discussion, see the live blog below.

The Regional Transit Authority Board of Commissioners will vote Tuesday on a proposal to charge pedestrians to ride the Algiers Point-Canal Street ferry and increase vehicle fares for the Chalmette ferry.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m.; I will live-blog it here.

Veolia Transportation, which runs RTA’s buses and streetcars, proposed on July 18 a pedestrian ferry fare structure of $2 for each way for the Algiers ferry and $2 for each vehicle crossing on the Chalmette ferry.

As of now, it’s free for pedestrians to take the Algiers ferry; it costs $1 for cars to cross from Lower Coast Algiers to Chalmette. The Chalmette ferry is currently free for cars going the other way.

A day pass for the Algiers ferry would be $5 and a monthly pass $75.

If approved Tuesday, the proposed ferry structure will be submitted to the New Orleans City Council for final authorization, according to RTA spokeswoman Patrice Bell Mercadel.

Community members weighed in on the fares at a public hearing last week. At that meeting, Mercadel said that the board would take those comments into consideration before making a decision.

Community members made several suggestions, including lowering the fares, providing free transportation to students and offering special prices during events like Mardi Gras.

Several Algiers Point residents said they wanted to see ferry fares integrated with the rest of public transportation in New Orleans. As of now, the proposal has been limited to ferry fares, with no offers of transfers to the city’s buses or streetcars.

Current funding leaves the ferries $2.8 million short in operating expenses, according to Veolia Transportation’s presentation during last week’s meeting. The ferries receive $5.5 million from the state and $500,000 from other sources annually, but they cost about $8.8 million to run.

Live blog

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.
About Della Hasselle

Della Hasselle, a freelance journalist and producer, reports environmental and criminal justice stories for The Lens. A graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Hasselle lived in New York for 10 years. While up north, she produced and anchored news segments, wrote feature stories and reported breaking news for, a hyperlocal news site. Before that, she worked at the New York Daily News. She obtained her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She can be reached at (917) 304-6121.

  • Bill Walters

    If we are going to see the end of ferry service on the Mississippi River in New Orleans, why aren’t we talking about building a pedestrian/bicycle bridge? Heck, we could even use K-rails to grab a portion of the HOV lane on the CCC. There simply must be a free or affordable way for bikes and pedestrians to cross the river.

  • Karen Duncan

    The notion that advertising can’t be effective on a 15 minute ride across the river is pure nonsense. Buses are covered with advertising and they fly by on lookers in a split second.

  • Pamela Reed

    But what about the hours???? Are those being extended? Or are we now just being charged for the shortened hours?

  • Jennifer Blanchard

    The ferry makes at least 2 million trips across the river each year. That means if you charge one person one dollar you will make two thirds the amount of the funding needed after the state funding is applied to operations. Going from $0 round trip to $4 round trip is really steep and for a car with one passenger paying the same not a sustainable form of public transit. Then there is the case of the proposed “special fare”. We don’t know how much that will be and when it will be implemented. We can assume anytime there is an event on the Eastbank. Commuters trying to get to work shouldn’t have to pay extra because RTA is attempting to make public transportation an extremely profitable venture.

  • Jennifer Blanchard

    Yeah, that’s some crap when the NFL can sell an ad on the freaking field for two seconds so I have to stare at the “Slap ya Mama” end zone during a Saints game!

  • Jennifer Blanchard

    The ferry will die if the hours are not returned.

  • Jennifer Blanchard

    ARTinA will volunteer to reprint the ferry landing on the Algiers side.

  • Amy Puckett

    What about the hours????? paying is one thing but being stuck in Algiers Point after 630 every night is not going to work for a lot of us. is this even being addressed???

  • Della Hasselle

    RTA Commissioner Goodly said that the board would be looking into options for extended hours. The Lens will follow up to answer that question further.

  • I am concerned about the hours being extended back to what they were as well. If we are going to pay for it we need the hours back or even better 24/7 with limited service at night would be fine too.

  • Della Hasselle

    Augustine said that the RTA plans to raise $2.8 million using the proposed fare structure, adding that the company needs that much to cover the ferry’s extended operating hours “into late nights and also weekends.”

  • Steve Myers

    Justin Augustine told me tonight that RTA hopes to restore ferry service to 18 hours a day.

  • Steve Myers

    Augustine told me tonight that RTA hopes to restore service to 18 hours a day.

  • Della Hasselle

    Most likely he means back to the schedule of 6 a.m. to midnight, then.