The Capital Area Transit System will enact two long-discussed changes this weekend when it removes its Downtown Hub and formally ceases service on the Red Stick Trolley.
Earlier in the year, the CATS Board of Commissioners voted to remove the Red Stick Trolley, Route 15, following low ridership. The board held a public hearing and received no dissent and also conducted a service equity analysis that showed the change would not have a negative impact on the neighborhood, which has transit service through other CATS routes. The Metro Council voted to remove the route in October.
“For efficiency’s sake, we decided to combine the removal of Route 15 with the removal of the Downtown Hub, following some concerns about CATS buses being located near the Old State Capitol,” said CATS CEO Bill Deville. “While this will alter some downtown routes in a minor way, it will not change the frequency of most service. In fact, on one route, we expect to see an improvement in the frequency of service.”
Complete route change information will be available online at www.brcats.com and will be placed on the buses on affected routes. In addition, riders with questions can contact the CATS Customer Care Center at (225) 389-8282.
“In addition to these changes, CATS continues to review its ridership and routes to find the most efficient way to serve the people of Baton Rouge. We expect to enact additional route changes next year to improve the frequency of popular bus routes and remove less popular lines,” Deville said.
CATS set up a temporary hub near the Old State Capitol and Town Square on North Boulevard. Following the removal of this hub, some routes will pass through the CATS Terminal on Florida Boulevard and North 22nd Street. Others using the old Downtown Hub will simply have their starting and ending points altered.
Seven existing routes used this Downtown Hub in some way. They are:
Route 10 Scenic Highway/Southern University
Route 12 Government Street/Jefferson Highway
Route 16 Capitol Park Shuttle
Route 22 Winbourne Avenue
Route 44 Florida Boulevard-Cortana Mall
Route 47 Highland Road
Route 72 Florida Boulevard Limited Stops
Specific route changes caused by the Downtown Hub move are outlined below. Unless noted, frequency of the routes will not change.
Scenic Highway/Southern University
Shorter wait times on Route 10, which serves Scenic Highway/Southern University. On weekdays, service will be cut from every 35 minutes to every 30 minutes. On weekends, service will now be every hour, instead of every 70 minutes.
In addition, two new bus stops will be established in each direction at Scenic Highway and North Street.
Service along the current Main Street segment of Route 10 is being removed as passenger surveys indicate a minimal level of passenger activity along Main Street and North Street on this route. The North Street segment between I-110 and Lafayette Street will be served by the 103 Airport Express.
Will now begin and end at the CATS Terminal, and will no longer travel to the Old State Capitol. The discontinued segment of the current Route 12 between Government and 22nd and the downtown area will be served by Route 47 Highland.
Capitol Park Shuttle
The route will now begin and end at the River Center, which will simplify the route.
From the River Center, the route will operate along the current route to South Boulevard, proceed north on St. Louis Street, then continue north on 3rd Street to the North Campus of the Capitol Complex.
From North Campus, buses will operate the current route to 4th Street and Florida Street. Then buses will proceed west on Florida Street to River Road and then south to the River Center.
Winbourne Avenue-Cortana Mall
This route will now begin and end at its new terminal at St. Ferdinand Street and Louisiana Avenue.
From the terminal, the route will proceed along the current route to River Road and North Boulevard, then continue north on River Road to Florida Street and then continue on Florida Street to 3rd Street and continue the current route.
The new Terminal will be located at the Hampton Inn on Lafayette Street.
From Florida Street, buses will turn right on River Road, then turn right on Main Street, then right on Lafayette Street to Hampton Inn.
From the Hampton Inn, buses will continue south on Lafayette Street to Florida Street, then continue the current routing.
Route 47 will begin and end at the CATS Terminal on Florida Boulevard and North 22nd Street.
Route 47 will serve the discontinued segment of Route 12 along Government Street between St. Charles Street and 22nd Street.
The discontinued segments along Government Street, River Road, North Boulevard and St. Ferdinand Street will be served by Route 22.
The Route 72 will begin and end at the CATS Terminal on Florida Boulevard and North 22nd Street.
The segment of the current route between the CATS Terminal and downtown will be served by Route 44.