Swift bus service to end this month

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A popular service created as part of the recovery from Hurricane Katrina will go away at the end of this month.  Thousands of Baton Rouge area residents have taken advantage of the service.

Brittany Ducre rides the Louisiana Swift bus from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to see her family at least once a month and has been doing so for the last five years. She pays $5 each way.

But, come the end of this month, she'll have to find another way - the Louisiana Swift service is going away. Like many others, Brittany came to Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina.

"It was a big help for some people after Katrina and just for it to be shut down it's disappointing," said Ducre.

"This was never intended to be a permanent program, it was always intended for that post-Katrina recovery effort," said DOTD's Jodie Conachen.

Conachen says the feds have been picking up the tab for the whole time.  But recently, Washington told Louisiana it was going to have to kick in and come up with $750,000 a year to keep the route going. Conachen says the state can't come up with the money, so the Swift route will go away.

"The feds have been generous in the past, but they are no longer willing to fit the bill for what has become a local transit service," she added.

According to Conachen, 200 use the service every day.  Among them: Sydney Holmes, who says that the bus was a convenience for many people.

"I see a lot of people going back and  forth on it," said Holmes.  "It looks like they probably don't have transportation.   So, uh, I think it's going to hurt."

And put a strain on some people still struggling.

Conachen says that any further bus service would have to be funded by a  private company.

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