BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Residents in Biloxi along Popp’s Ferry Road asked for it, and now they have it.
Thanks to a collaboration between Coast Transit Authority and the cities of Biloxi and D'Iberville, a new extended Coast Transit Authority Route 32 began this week.
It wasn’t long ago that CTA was about ready to end it, and now it has six more months to prove its worth.
“Let’s give it a chance and let’s try,” said D’Iberville Mayor Rusty Quave. “Now it just takes the riders getting on there, and we’d like to ask the riders on the Gulf Coast to get on and ride public transit.”
It started on a trial basis last December, but CTA cited poor ridership - less than the required average of seven riders per hour.
Residents pushed city leaders to not only extend the deadline but also extend the length of the route.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said rider Patricia Holley. “Due to the fact that it’s the holiday season that will introduce everybody to this new line coming back and forth and being able to pick up the line crossing Pass Road at the same time.”
Holley is one of many along the route who has no other means of transportation - like those who live at Bellemont Gardens.
“It was a big win for the residents here,” said Stephanie Roberts, office manager. “They pushed for this. They really wanted it. It’s a senior property, so we have a lot of people that do not have vehicles, that do not drive. They still want to get out and go places and go shopping and that sort of thing.”
The new route starts near the intersection of Popp’s Ferry and Pass Road. It goes all the way to the Promenade. From there, riders can make other connections throughout Biloxi. Officials said they started this at the requests of residents, but it could be good for businesses as well.
“The advantage to the city of D’Iberville of course, it’s going to bring more riders to our shopping centers and then they can hook up with another bus and go into Biloxi and go to the casinos there,” Quave said.
Biloxi Councilman Kenny Glavan was equally excited at the possibilities.
“We feel we have the opportunity for success just because of how it’s laying out and the needs of the business community, the residents and the city,” he said.
Extending the route for six months will cost the cities about $33,000.
Biloxi will pay two-thirds of the money, and D’Iberville will be responsible for the balance
For CTA director Kevin Coggin, this is a success even if the route doesn’t become permanent.
“It’s a good example of how local governments and agencies could and should be working together," Coggin said.