BATON ROUGE, La. – Staff members from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) served cake to bus passengers on Friday as the agency celebrated the third anniversary of LA Swift, the transit service that provides bus rides between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
"Today, we are celebrating more than the success of the LA Swift service," said DOTD Secretary William D. Ankner, Ph.D. "We are celebrating Louisiana’s move toward creating an integrated transportation system that uses all transportation modes, including transit. LA Swift is an effective and efficient traffic solution."
LA Swift began on Oct. 31, 2005, as a 14-day pilot recovery service to give New Orleanians who were displaced from Hurricane Katrina a free ride from Baton Rouge to help rebuild the area. Since then, LA Swift has evolved into a fee-based service that continues its recovery mission and has expanded to include a park-and-ride service. So far, LA Swift has provided about 547,000 rides.
Friday’s celebration took place at the Capital Area Transit System terminal on Florida Street, where the coach bus service originates and ties into Baton Rouge’s municipal bus service. In New Orleans, LA Swift ties into the New Orleans Rapid Transit Authority at Canal Boulevard and Elks Place.
"The interconnectivity between these two services can be the backbone of a true statewide transit system," Secretary Ankner said. "This is an element we need to develop to help alleviate congestion in our urban areas."
In 2008, DOTD began the park-and-ride service at The Home Depot parking lots on Highland Road in Baton Rouge and on La. 30 in Gonzales. The service has already provided more than 1,600 rides for commuters who are saving around $20 a day. A driver who pays $2.75 for a gallon of gas and has a car that gets 20 miles per gallon will pay about $32 to drive from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, park their car and drive back. At $12 for a two-way trip, LA Swift is a bargain.
LA Swift runs seven days a week. For schedules and exact routes, visit www.laswift.com or call 1-877-94-SWIFT (1-877-947-9438).