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RTA’s newest ferry vessel to enter revenue service

10/9/2020

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced one of the newest ferry vessels, RTA2, entering revenue service on Saturday, October 10th at 6AM.  RTA2 will serve as the primary revenue vessel for the ferry service between the Algiers Point and Canal Street terminals.  The new vessel is a 105-foot, 150-passenger, BMT-designed, aluminum high-speed catamaran passenger ferry.  

To celebrate, the RTA is hosting Ferry Rider Appreciation Day on Saturd October 10th. Beginning at 9:00 am community members are invited to the Algiers Ferry Terminal to ride the new vessel and celebrate the day with Golden Tickets and RTA giveaways, while supplies last. The agency advises riders to pre-purchase fare using the GoMobile app.   

“It is the RTA Board of Commissioners’ highest priority to provide safe, reliable, and equitable transportation to the people of New Orleans across all transit modes,” said Flozell Daniels Jr., Chair, RTA Board of Commissioners. “The launch of the new vessel marks another important milestone on the path to advancing the mission of the RTA as we stand positioned to deliver ferry transportation our riders deserve. We will continue to work closely and diligently with our ferry operating partners to ensure that world‐class ferry service is not only an expectation but an imperative.”  

"Since the beginning of this Administration we have worked in partnership with RTA to provide the transit services our residents deserve,” said Mayor Cantrell. “The work to bring regular ferry vessels back online for the Algiers Point and Canal Street terminals has been a long and arduous task, one that preceded RTA’s new leadership team. We are both excited and relieved to mark the RTA2 ferry vessel’s entrance Saturday into revenue service. We also remain vigilant as RTA works to bring the second new ferry into service."  

The $19M in funding for RTA 1 and RTA 2 partly comes from a $15.2M award from the Federal Transit Administration’s 2015 Passenger Ferry Grant program for the construction of both vessels and the Canal Street Ferry Terminal re-development project.  The State of Louisiana provided the required local funding match in the amount of $3.8M.   Additionally, the RTA annually receives roughly $5.1M in operating funds from the State to support ferry operations and maintenance. The Col. Frank X. Armiger, the ferry vessel currently providing this service, will remain as the back-up vessel until the second new ferry, RTA1, enters service.  The RTA1 is currently undergoing final modifications and upgrades with the vessel manufacturer. Upon returning to New Orleans and securing its Certificate of Inspection, RTA1 will also enter revenue service and will be alternated with RTA2 as the primary service vessels. The Col. Frank X. Armiger will remain on standby status.  

“The entry of RTA 2 into revenue service signifies the beginning of the next chapter in ferry service and regional transit connectivity in the Greater New Orleans region and would not be possible without the support of U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-2) and the Federal Transit Administration,” said Alex Wiggins, RTA CEO.  “As we enter the first of the two new ferry vessels into service, residents, commuters, and visitors will experience a more reliable, comfortable, enjoyable and safe transit option which will help spur local economic development in our neighborhood business districts.” 

“I am proud to have championed this partnership in 2014 when DOTD and RTA began this cooperative endeavor and the City of New Orleans and her citizens have benefitted greatly from this partnership.  The DOTD and RTA began this cooperative endeavor in Feb. of 2014 and the citizens have benefitted greatly,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “Before the RTA-DOTD partnership, the historic ferry operation faced dire circumstances because of budget reductions in ferry service after the Crescent City Connection Division was dissolved in 2013. As a result, we now have modernized equipment, charging an appropriate fare, operating based on business principles and travel demand. Progress continues for those engaged in active transportation with the implementation of this new, state-of-the art passenger-only ferry.”  

“This is a good day for the people of Algiers and all of New Orleans, who should be able to rely on reliable public transportation, including ferry services,” said Representative Gary Carter Jr., Louisiana State Representative District 102.  

"The new RTA2 ferry is a major milestone in ensuring a reliable public transit link between the Westbank and Eastbank.  I'm truly excited for Algiers residents who rely on efficient and convenient ferry services as their main transportation option for work and school.  I will continue to partner with RTA to continue to improve the Algiers and Chalmette ferry services and prevent these issues from occurring in the future." said District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer.  

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