Resident pushing to extend bus schedule

Published: Aug. 1, 2017 at 8:55 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2017 at 10:18 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Right now bus service is provided Monday through Friday from 5:45 A.M. through 5:45 P.M. (except on City holidays). This leaves a huge gap in transportation at night and on the weekends and is something many residents wish to change.

"They may get off of work at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. with no transportation and on the weekend, no transportation," said one frustrated resident, Adam Frank.

"I have kids and a lot of times I have to go get pampers and Walmart is far from where we stay," said a father of two, Jimmy Celestine Jr.

"If the bus did run on Saturday, it would definitely help me get to and from work and not having to walk home from Nelson Road to Moss Street," said another resident, Mike Visser.

A problem one resident Dionne Austin discovered when her car broke down a few years ago.

"It was very frustrating because I was at a point of what am I going to do because I needed the money to get it fixed and also having to depend on other people," said Austin. "It wasn't easy. In that time I had to ride the city bus, I saw that there was a need in the community. A lot of people were frustrated and had complaints."

So Austin has been hitting the pavement, talking to residents and gathering information she presented in front of the city council, even starting her own petition with hundreds of signatures.

The need is there for many within the city, but it's trying to figure out how to fund the expansion that's putting a halt to the process.

"If it were just as simple as signing a piece of paper and making it happen, I would have done it my first day in office but what we have to look at always is the needs and the costs," said Mayor Nic Hunter.

According to Hunter, if the city were to add Saturday service and extend hours of operation to 10 p.m., the estimated cost for the City would be more than half a million dollars.

"To just go in and arbitrarily go in and say yes we are going to do it, would not be prudent at this moment because we have to identify the funding source," said Hunter.

Hunter says they have launched a survey able to be filled out at the transit center and online.

"Before we make big changes to a system like our public transit, we want to hear from as many people as possible to determine what really are the needs," said Hunter.

Click HERE to take the transit survey.

Click HERE to learn more about the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury's free transportation program.

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