New Orleans Regional Transit Authority
RTA building on Canal Street
|Headquarters||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Service area||Orleans Parish, Louisiana|
|Service type||Public Transit
|Website||New Orleans Regional Transit Authority|
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA or NORTA) is a body established by the Louisiana State Legislature in 1979. Since 1983 it has controlled bus and streetcar service in the City of New Orleans.
Previously, public mass transit was one of the services controlled by a private utility company, New Orleans Public Service Incorporated (NOPSI), which also controlled the electric and natural gas utilities within New Orleans. The switch to a public operation in 1983 was motivated by lack of profitability and the desire to be eligible for federal funding. NOPSI has since become Entergy New Orleans.
NORTA has one of the largest fleets of buses in the nation and it also has the reputation for being one of the cleanest and safest systems.
City buses were used before Hurricane Katrina hit to transport people to a refuge of last resort, the Louisiana Superdome. Much of the city flooded due to the storm. The NORTA Administration building on Plaza Drive appears to have been in ten feet of water. Almost eighty-five percent of the fleet was rendered useless and inoperative; 146 city buses were visible outdoors in the flood at the 2817 Canal St. facility, while only 22 were at 3900 Desire Pky. The 8201 Willow St. facility was one block within the flood but was built above street level. The buses at the flooded facilities were mostly written off.
All but one of the streetcars built in the 1990s and 2000s were severely damaged in the flooding resulting from the hurricane. The historic Perley Thomas-built streetcars of the St. Charles line were undamaged in the disaster. The damaged streetcars, which had been built by hand on the property by local workers, were repaired in the same facility with components from Brookville Equipment Co.
As of 2007[update], service was restored to certain areas as they become habitable again. However, there is no 24-hour service on any bus or streetcar line, except for the St. Charles streetcar line. Streetcars were returned to the full length of Canal St. and the Riverfront, initially using the historic St. Charles Line streetcars, which had not been damaged, as had the red Canal cars. In 2008, the St. Charles streetcar resumed running the entire length of its route. By early 2009, the red Canal streetcars were repaired and had taken over service on the Canal and Riverfront Lines. The buses that have been restored to operation have returned to several major thoroughfares, including Elysian Fields Avenue, Esplanade Avenue, Claiborne Avenue, St. Claude Avenue, Judge Perez Drive, General Meyer Avenue, Lapalco Boulevard, Robert E. Lee Boulevard, and the Chef Menteur Highway. And just two express routes, Lake Forest Express and Morrison Express, both serving Eastern New Orleans, have been reinstated so far.
A year before Katrina, in addition to local and express bus service, NORTA brought Bus Rapid Transit to the city. The first BRT line opened up on Broad Street, with two more lines opening up months later running along Tulane Avenue and Saint Claude Avenue.
Bus & Streetcar Route List
- 2 Riverfront Streetcar
- 5 Marigny-Bywater
- 10 Tchoupitoulas
- 11 Magazine
- 12 St. Charles Streetcar
- 15 Freret
- 16 Claiborne
- 24 Napoleon
- 27 Louisiana
- 28 M.L. King
- 32 Leonidas
- 39 Tulane
- 45 Lakeview
- 47 Canal Streetcar to Cemeteries
- 48 Canal Streetcar to City Park/Museum
- 49 Loyola/UPT Streetcar
- 51 St. Bernard - Paris Ave.
- 52 St. Bernard - Senate - St. Anthony
- 55 Elysian Fields
- 57 Franklin
- 60 Hayne
- 62 Morrison Express
- 63 New Orleans East Owl
- 64 Lake Forest Express
- 80 Louisa
- 84 Galvez
- 88 St. Claude/Jackson Barracks
- 91 Jackson-Esplanade
- 94 Broad
- 100 Algiers Loop Owl
- 101 Algiers Loop
- 102 General Meyer
- 108 Algiers Local
- 114 General DeGaulle - Sullen
- 115 General DeGaulle - Tullis
- 201 Kenner Loop
- 408 Algiers Local-Landry High School