BATON ROUGE, La. – LA Swift, the free bus service that transports displaced residents, workers and job-seekers between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, will add stops in south Baton Rouge, Sorrento and LaPlace on Feb. 5, giving more displaced residents a chance to re-enter the New Orleans job market.
LA Swift also will begin offering evening service Feb. 5 from Baton Rouge to New Orleans and morning service from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. This will accommodate employees who work overnight shifts.
“This is a big step forward to reach out to people in the River Parishes region who want to help rebuild the New Orleans area,” Johnny B. Bradberry, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), said Wednesday. “There are a lot of displaced people from New Orleans who are living in Ascension, St. James, St. John and St. Charles parishes, and now we have a way to help them help themselves.”
The state has formally applied to FEMA to extend LA Swift through June 30.
Of the extension request, state Department of Labor Secretary John Warner Smith said, “LA Swift has been critical to helping hundreds of people start the process of rebuilding their lives and giving their families hope. Extending the service will give those workers peace of mind knowing that they will be able to keep their jobs and maintain some stability in their lives.”
The three stops LA Swift will make beginning Feb. 5 are:
- The Home Depot parking lot, 18139 Highland Road in Baton Rouge near I-10.
- The Chevron Sorrento Super Shop, 7140 La. 22 near I-10.
- The LaPlace Texaco and Huddle House Restaurant, 4325 La. 51 near I-10.
Riders should note that LA Swift is not a park-and-ride service. Riders should arrange for other transportation to the stops.
LA Swift will continue offering express service between the Baton Rouge Capital Area Transit System (CATS) Florida Street terminal and the Elks Place stop on Canal Street in New Orleans. The new schedules are available online at www.laswift.com. Schedules and further details are also available through DOTD’s Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or toll-free at 1-877-4LA-DOTD (1-877-452-3683).
LA Swift has provided more than 36,000 rides between Baton Rouge and New Orleans since its inaugural run on Oct. 31, 2005. The service is averaging more than 500 rides per weekday.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration, or FEMA, which provides buses and drivers, extended the service to Feb. 28 after a 14-day pilot program. The current application, if approved, would take the program through June 30.
LA Swift is an initiative of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. It is coordinated by DOTD and the state Department of Labor in cooperation with the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority and CATS.