SporTran offers free bus rides through Nov. 18 to urge usage

SporTran offers free bus rides through Nov. 18 to urge usage
(Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA)
(Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA)
(Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA)
(Source: Jeff Ferrell/KSLA)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The long wait is over.

The future of Shreveport's public transportation system is now.

A multimillion-dollar bus terminal is just one of the new amenities now offered, not to mention new facilities and more new buses.

An estimated 2,000 passengers were expected to ride on Shreveport's new buses Sunday, opening day.

And SporTran is offering free bus rides through Saturday to encourage more people to use its bus system.

The $5.8 million project is called the SporTran Intermodal Terminal and Southwest Transit Hub.

Some have very practical reasons for liking it.

"So you didn't have to get in the rain. Stay up under the shed," SporTran regular Larry Martin said.

"Like a lot of time when you walked at the other place, you had to go in the rain, some parts of it."

The grand opening and ribbon cutting Wednesday allowed the city to display its new electric buses, the first of their kind operating in Louisiana, and just the second mass transit system in the world to use them.

SporTran also uses buses fueled by compressed natural gas.

But not everyone is a fan of all the changes, especially SporTran regular Louise Jefferson.

"I don't like the change. I don't like it at all," she declared just outside the new terminal on its first day of business.

But Jefferson added that she eventually will come around.

"The answer that I'm trying to get is how long is it going to take before I get used to it."

Perhaps the biggest change, and the one most people could have a hard time adjusting to, at least at first are the bus stops.

We're told the national average is a bus stop every four blocks.

In Shreveport-Bossier City, it's usually been about one to two blocks.

So SporTran split the difference and made it every three blocks.

"Someone like me, I have back issues, leg issues. That's too far to be walking," Jefferson said.

Immediately after being interviewed by KSLA, SporTran CEO Dinero Washington told Jefferson about the service's Liftline program.

"It's for people who cannot maneuver to bus stops. We do run a para-transit van that actually goes out and can assist those individuals," Washington said.

And with Shreveport police headquarters right across Murphy Street from the new terminal, passengers feel safer.

New buses and new facilities also mean new routes to improve arrival times.

SporTran officials said they plan to re-evaluate the bus routes early next year.

We're also told there's no increase in the cost of fares, only more options available.

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