Skip to content
CityLab
Transportation

A Troubling Review of Public Transit in New Orleans Since Katrina

Despite some recent progress, the city has prioritized streetcars to the detriment of bus service, according to a new report.
relates to A Troubling Review of Public Transit in New Orleans Since Katrina
Joel Kramer / Flickr

In October 2005, just weeks after Hurricane Katrina assaulted New Orleans, public transit service resumed on the famed St. Charles streetcar line—except with good old buses replacing the trolleys, which would remain out of service for two more years. But since that time, the city has largely abandoned the buses that were there for it in the early post-recovery days, not to mention the disadvantaged riders who rely on them, to the great detriment of mobility and job access across the region.

That’s the scathing upshot of a new review of post-Katrina public transit from the advocacy group Ride New Orleans. Doubling down on a July 2014 report that deemed city transit “inefficient,” “inequitable,” and “unsustainable,” Ride New Orleans says less than half of all service has returned since the storm—but that only 35 percent of bus service has been restored while streetcar service is back to pre-Katrina levels.