CTA Free Rides Soon Come To An End

The Coast Transit Authority has provided free rides to South Mississippians post-Hurricane Katrina with help from FEMA.

The agency provided more than $1 million through the Federal Transit Administration. Now, those funds have run out, and so has the free ride.

"We requested FEMA to extend the funding at least until March 15th and we're eligible to at least the 15th from emergency declaration, but they decided since the community is starting to recover that February 28th will be the day that they would need to stop funding the bus operations and we would need to start charging fares and rely on our local subsidies and our self generated revenue," said CTA executive director Kevin Coggin.

But this is not sitting to well with some of the people who have come to rely on this extra help as they try to rebuild their lives.

"FEMA, I mean they are doing what they can do, but at the same time, a lot of people still is not fortunate enough, wasn't fortunate in the beginning but still now they have nothing," said D'Iberville resident Ja'Lisa Broach.

"People like myself that are on a tight budget and stuff like that should have a free ride instead of paying a dollar or so here and all that," said D'Iberville resident Joey Carr.

The future rate has not been determined, but Coggin says 'paying a fare' is now the only way to keep Coast Transit Authority in operation.

"It's gonna hurt some people. They really need it, and we would have liked to have continued to provide it but that's the decision that was made and you know, maybe if some folks would make a few phone calls, maybe they'll change their mind," said Coggin.

Coggin also says the FEMA funding helped CTA provide service to areas it didn't provide service to before Hurricane Katrina.

So, with the loss of funding, a lot of those services will be reduced.