NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined members of the New Orleans City Council, Regional Planning Commission officials, and community stakeholders to commemorate the transfer of the New Orleans ferry system’s operations to Veolia Transportation from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and announce the new fare collection structure. Veolia Transportation commenced operations of the Algiers Point-Canal Street Ferry and the Algiers-Chalmette Ferry on Sunday, February 16, 2014. Veolia Transportation also operates the Regional Transit Authority’s transit system in New Orleans which includes bus, streetcar, and paratransit services.
Watch Mayor Landrieu's remarks
“The ferry system in New Orleans is a treasured institution and strong economic driver for our region,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “By working in close partnership with the New Orleans City Council, Regional Planning Commission, and members of the State Legislature, we have ensured that this vital transportation resource will continue to serve residents on both banks of the Mississippi River into the future. I am pleased that Veolia Transportation will operate the ferry system and continue to build the Regional Transit Authority’s multi-modal, integrated transit system that already includes bus, streetcar, and paratransit services. The City remains dedicated to increasing transportation options for every citizen.”
After the tolls on the Crescent City Connection; which funded the New Orleans ferry system, expired in 2013, the ferry service’s long term future became in doubt. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development continued ferry operations on a more limited schedule and worked with the Regional Planning Commission to identify a local operator. Last summer, State lawmakers, led by State Senator David Heitmeier, authorized that operations could be transferred to the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), which is operated by Veolia Transportation. The State of Louisiana has agreed to provide $5.5 million per year over the first two years. RTA conducted an extensive public outreach process to discuss a proposed ferry fare structure and the New Orleans City Council approved a new fare collection structure in August 2013.
The new ferry fare structure will go into effect on Sunday, February 23, 2014. Click here to view the ferry fare structure and ferry operations schedule.
“Veolia Transportation is pleased to announce that it commenced ferry operations on Sunday, February 16, 2014. We are very proud to have accepted the community’s call to action to save the ferry system,” stated Justin Augustine, Vice President, Veolia Transportation. “Veolia is committed to providing as much service as current funding and fare revenue will allow. We hope the community will support our efforts by choosing the ferries to travel between the East Bank and the West Bank of New Orleans.”
City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “I am very pleased that Veolia Transportation will operate the ferry system in New Orleans. As a member of the Regional Planning Commission, I was proud to author the RPC Resolution that allowed RPC to oversee the negotiations with Veolia and DOTD. I have personally worked with Veolia Transportation and the many constituent groups that were integral to making this a reality. I am proud to have led the effort that saved the ferry system, which plays such a critical role in connecting our community for work and play opportunities. The ferry system is critical to the economic viability of Algiers and I will continue my efforts to keep this valuable transit asset serving the citizens of New Orleans. Now, I challenge everyone in the community to join in my effort to save the ferry system by using the service, I will continue to work closely with Veolia Transportation to make the ferry system successful in New Orleans.”
District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, “I am thrilled that Veolia will operate the ferries in New Orleans and that they are focused on making sure they are part of our transit system for years to come. The ferries play a key role in connecting pedestrians and bicyclists to their jobs, schools, family members, and friends each day. Many do not have access to a car. Ferries throughout the state have been taken offline, but residents, businesses, and government officials in our region have worked together for months to ensure our ferry operations are maintained and examined to be more sustainable in the years to come. There is still work to be done. As Councilmember for District C, I will continue to work closely with Veolia Transportation and the City to make the ferry system successful in New Orleans. I will continue to advocate for extended hours. I urge you to join me in supporting our residents and in utilizing our public transit system in the coming months as we begin this transition.”
State Senator David Heitmeier commented, “As a college student, I worked on the ferry during the summer and that experience left a lasting impression on me. The canal street ferry in particular, is iconic and we worked incredibly hard so that we could ensure that future generations could enjoy it. In partnership with state and city officials we were able to make sure that the ferry could be maintained and continue to operate. I am so glad that we can preserve this unique, picturesque and incredibly vital mode of transportation as it is truly part of the fabric that makes New Orleans so special.”
Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Walter Brooks said, “I am happy to learn that Veolia Transportation will operate the ferry system in New Orleans effective Sunday, February 16, 2014. Veolia’s commitment to creating a multi-modal, integrated transit system in New Orleans is clear and I look forward to working with them to continue their work across New Orleans in the provision and expansion of world-class Bus, Streetcar, and Para-transit and Ferry services critical to creating a flourishing community.”
Friends of the Ferry founder Fay Faron said, “We are encouraged by this important first step in restoring a reliable ferry system that adequately meets the needs of our commuters and tourists.”
Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure, and Community Development Cedric Grant said, “New Orleans features a unique mix of transportation options. By utilizing bus, streetcar, and ferry service, we are a truly multi-modal city. Working as a team with our partners at the Regional Planning Commission and Veolia Transportation, we have successfully ensured that New Orleans residents will continue to have access to the important ferry service they rely on every day."