transportation

New bus routes debut, along with four days of free rides

(Regional Transit Authority)

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority introduced its revamped New Links routes and schedule on Sunday (Sept. 25). To mark the occasion, it is offering a four-day free fare promotion until Thursday (Sept. 28).

The free fares will allow riders to adjust to RTA’s bus system redesign with new routes without having to pay for their trips.

As new bus routes debut, riders can board without payment on all RTA buses, streetcars and the Algiers Point-Canal Street ferry during the four-day period. The Chalmette-Lower Algiers ferry is not included in the free fare promotion.

The City Council authorized the resolution by Transportation Chair and District D Councilman Eugene Green on Sept. 15 to implement of RTA’s free fares for the the new network’s debut. The fare suspension was approved by the RTA Board of Commissioners at their August meeting.

The route changes are designed to transform the transit network by connecting more riders to jobs, schools, health care and other necessities with shorter trips and wait times systemwide.

To help achieve these goals, the agency is introducing a system of bus hubs. The central hub is in front of the Main Library on Loyola Avenue in the Central Business District and additional smaller hubs are in New Orleans East, Gentilly Woods, the Cemeteries Transit Center and Wilty Terminal on the West Bank.

As the lead agency in the New Links study from 2019 to 2021, RTA worked closely with the Regional Planning Commission and sister agencies, Jefferson Transit (JeT) and St. Bernard Urban Rapid Transit (SBURT) to reimagine transit within the region.

The two-year study with major public input sought to meet the changing needs of riders. The new bus routes are the final part of the agency’s New Links implementation and the first meaningful network redesign since 2004.

The RTA’s New Links Bus Network is designed to provide better access to job centers and major destinations such as parks, health-care centers and grocery stores; shorter waits, with more buses running along key routes; more all-day, weekend and late-night service; plus more connections and quicker transfers.

A summary of the changes to the major Mid-City routes is below. Click here for an interactive map and schedule of the New Links routes. If you don’t see your route below, click here for a list of the new routes with links to maps and schedules or here for route translation guide. And if you don’t know what bus to take, the RTA trip planner can help you with your route.

Tulane-Elmwood: The route’s name is changed from 39 Tulane to 3 Tulane-Elmwood. This high-frequency 24-hour route will come every 15 minutes instead of every 24 minutes. The route now extends to the Elmwood district. Passengers have access to the Walmart and other stores and services in Harahan. The overnight owl service stops at Causeway.

Broad-Napoleon: The former 94 Broad is now the 9 Broad-Napoleon, a high-frequency 24-hour cross-town bus route. The new route extends down Napoleon Avenue to Tchoupitoulas Street. NASA and Village de L’Est are no longer serviced by this route, but it connects to other lines at the Gentilly Woods Hub.

Leonidas-Gentilly (Carrollton): The 90 Carrollton is now the 31 Leonidas-Gentilly. It runs every 60 minutes from 5 a.m. to midnight. Passengers on the section shared with the 32 Leonidas-Treme can catch the 31 or 32 bus every 30 minutes. The 31 will extend to Children’s Hospital whenever the roadwork and blockades end. Instead of terminating at Elysian Fields, the route extends to the Gentilly Woods Hub so passengers can travel to the Gentilly Woods shopping area and connect with other lines at the Hub.

Leonidas-Treme: The 32 Leonidas-Treme runs hourly from 5 a.m. to midnight. Passengers on the trunk shared with the 31 Leonidas-Gentilly can catch the 31 or 32 bus every 30 minutes. The 32 no longer serves the Audubon Zoo and terminates at St. Charles and Carrollton. The Leonidas-Treme will extend to Children’s Hospital when the roadwork ends.

Jackson-Esplanade: There are no route changes to the 91 Jackson-Esplanade. It will run every 20 minutes, instead of every half hour, during peak service times.

For more information, riders can visit norta.com/September25 or call Rideline at 504-248-3900. Riders can also receive Information via text by texting RTAUpdates to 41411.

New Links route map. See here for a PDF of the route map. (Regional Transit Authority)

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