La. state representative, US congressman want to see changes for CATS

La. state representative, US congressman want to see changes for CATS

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With the resignation of CEO Bob Mirabito, the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) will see a few obvious changes as someone new will take over. Local and state politicians, who have been CATS critics, are excited about the possibilities.

Privatizing the bus system is one of the solutions that some state legislators have proposed.

"Everybody's gonna do their job right. I couldn't even get home the other evening down here. It was 7:00 when I got home. I got off at five," said one frequent rider.

Peter Menson is bound to a wheelchair, and CATS  is his only means of transportation. He said there is room for improvement.

"I'm glad the bus system is here," Menson said. "It's not the best, it could use some improvement. It is my only means of transportation. I wish it was better, but I'm glad that it's here."

While riders continue on their routes every day, representatives at the State Capitol are asking for big changes to the operation.

Mirabito, who submitted his letter of resignation Tuesday, took over in 2013. From January 2014 to 2015, ridership was up 34 percent, and President Jim Brandt praised Mirabito's tenure. However, State Representative C. Denise Marcelle, who called Mirabito a "dictator" in the past, said his departure couldn't have come soon enough.

"I did not ever think he was competent," Marcelle said. "I thought that he brought the morale down. I thought that he intimidated and exploited the employees."

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves, R-Louisiana, has also been critical of CATS and said he wants to see changes all around.

"If we're driving empty buses around, you're doing a disservice to the people, and you're doing a disservice to the people that pay for it," Graves said. "The changes need to be that we need to be looking at fundamentally different approaches. It's either different routes, it's different vehicles."

An interim CEO could be appointed as soon as Friday at the next Board of Commissioners meeting.

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