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Giving transit riders the seat they deserve

7,000 people transfer between 20 RTA, JeT and LA Swift bus and streetcar lines at Elks Place & Tulane Ave in the CBD every day, making this intersection the busiest transit transfer point in the region. New Orleans transit system is designed so that all lines meet in the CBD; so if you’re travelling beyond Canal Street on bus or streetcar, you’re going to have to transfer. We surveyed close to 300 riders at the transfer station in November 2012 and learned that more than 40% of riders wait at the transfer point for 45 minutes or longer to make their transfer. The number of riders transferring coupled with the long waits make even more surprising that there are no public restrooms, no route maps, no shelter and very few places for riders to sit at this critical transfer point.

Most cities across the country invest in infrastructure to create robust, easy to navigate, pedestrian friendly, comfortable environments to serve riders at their bustling central transit hubs. Typical transfer stations contain climate controlled indoor or large covered outdoor waiting areas with plenty of seating, ticketing kiosks, water fountains, vending or retail, bike storage, public restrooms, and real-time arrival signs in addition to clear and easy to understand route maps and schedules. We want to make decision-makers in New Orleans realize the opportunity that exists to invest in a true CBD transfer station that provides basic comforts to current riders and encourages new ridership from tourists and residents who typically drive.

Imagine the message that we could send to decision-makers if just for one day we gave riders a place to sit. Ride proposes to use Awesome Foundation funding to empower transit riders to host a day of action, placing hundreds of chairs out for riders to take a seat while they wait. The day of action will coincide with the release of a report detailing our rider survey findings, and recommendations for creating a true CBD transfer station.

Funded by New Orleans, LA (Inactive) (August 2013)