Bus system revamp runs into hurdles in Baton Rouge

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Transit authorities in Baton Rouge said new bus hubs that allowed system managers to create more direct routes for riders and shorten wait times for buses may have to be reconfigured after problems emerged.

Just weeks into the system-wide route changes, traffic is congesting at a downtown bus transfer hub, The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/1luwr2E).

In addition, management at the Mall of Louisiana has been lukewarm to a hub there, and another hub is at the former Earl K. Long Hospital, a facility that is to be demolished.

Capital Area Transit System Chief Executive Bob Mirabito likened the transfer points to airline hubs. They are part of changes CATS introduced this year. At hubs, buses sometimes park for a time waiting for other buses to arrive so riders can transfer.

Before the March 30 service expansion, CATS operated a single transfer point at the Florida Boulevard terminal. The single hub point meant most routes were inefficiently directed to the hub so riders could board a connecting bus.

CATS added transfer hubs at Cortana Mall, Mall of Louisiana, the former Earl K. Long hospital and the North Boulevard Town Square.

But system officials are considering moving three of the four hubs because of traffic and other issues.

Mirabito said the hubs were selected as part of an operational analysis conducted before he took the job. He said little consideration was given to the impact of the hubs on traffic.

"I don't think anybody, including myself, really did as good a job as we could have seeing an impact," he said. "This was something totally new for Baton Rouge, and all of Baton Rouge, including CATS, is still learning from this experience."

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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