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Calcasieu Parish Transit Program leaning toward a fixed route system

Last Modified: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 8:33 PM

By John Guidroz / American Press

The Calcasieu Parish Transit Program has moved into the second floor of the Lake Charles City Transit Center on Ryan Street, a change that one local official said may lead to a regional transportation system.

City and parish officials gathered at the facility on Tuesday to recognize the addition. Tarek Polite, the parish’s human services director, said the goal is to create a “fixed-route system,” instead of the demand-and-response system the parish now uses.

“Right now, we are picking up people at their homes, and that’s not really the most efficient way to run a transit system,” he said.

With a fixed route, Polite said the parish buses could pick up people in the outlying areas and take them to the transit center. From there, the city buses could take them to their destinations within city limits.

“The city bus then brings them back to the center, and we bring them back to the (original) location,” Polite said.

He said it took more than a year of planning to move into the Ryan Street office.

He said the parish began considering the move before the transit center opened in December.

“We are always looking at ways to collaborate with the city of Lake Charles,” he said.

John Cardone, city administrator, said that having both programs operating from one location will “enhance public transportation” within the city and parish.

“This facility creates a transfer point and a staging area for those customers seeking transportation needs in our area,” he said. “(That) is very important ... with all the economic development fixing to take place throughout our area.”

Polite said the parish transit system buses make 15,000-20,000 trips annually.

“I think that we have one of the more viable transit systems — certainly in the region and perhaps maybe in the state,” he said. “It’s an active system, which is another reason why we need to try and figure out a way to improve the services and reduce cost.”

Cardone said the city’s transit system continues to grow, with more than 235,000 passengers over the last 12 months.

For more information, call the parish transit program at 721-4040 or the city’s Transit Department at 491-1253.

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