Katrina Evacuee Complains about Lack of Bus Service

Getting around Baton Rouge became an issue after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, so to ease the congestion, the local bus company known as CATS introduced two new bus routes: one on Coursey, and the other on O'Neal. But they've since stopped the service. One rider tells WAFB she was told by CATS the bus would run again in the spring, but CATS officials dispute that.

Her car is broke down, and the bus no longer runs by her complex, so Naquesha Gray walks to get to and from home. Gray says, "You don't know what's coming at you from behind, can't jump out the way. You going be flat on the road like a raccoon, you know." Gray says she moved to her apartment on South Harrells Ferry Road because there was a bus stop nearby on O'Neal Lane, but about a month later, the bus service stopped. "And I was like where is the bus that they had running on this route, when I first moved here," she asks.

CATS officials say after the hurricanes, they teamed up with a New Orleans company to offer extra bus routes to ease traffic and FEMA picked up the tab. But in November of last year, CATS officials say FEMA stopped paying, and they couldn't afford to keep the route going. But Gray says that's not what she was told when she called CATS to ask what happened. "'When is ya'll going to get a bus back out this way?' She said, 'Well, the bus should be back running out in the spring.' That's what they say, so here is the spring, no bus," says Gray.

CATS says they posted signs inside the bus, to let riders know the bus would be stopping. But Gray says she never saw a sign, and now, she has no way to get around. She says, "They don't have no buses, this supposed to be the city part of Baton Rouge. Why is no bus running?" Now she says she's looking to move somewhere, where public transportation is available, and she doesn't have to feel stranded anymore.

CATS says to keep that bus on O'Neal running, it would cost them about $90 an hour, and it would have to run 13 hours to allow people to get on and off at different times throughout the day, but there were not enough people to keep the service going.