The opening of the new Biloxi Bay Bridge should help ease traffic headaches, so it's important to local leaders that the celebration of the big event doesn't cause traffic tie ups. Coast Transit Authority says it has been asked by both Biloxi and Ocean Springs to help get people to and from bridge festivities taking place on both sides of the bay.
On Wednesday workers put up a 4,000-square-foot tent at the Biloxi Town Green for people who want to avoid the crowds and watch the Biloxi Bay Bridge open on Thursday there on a Jumbotron. Those who want to see it first hand may have trouble parking as close as they'd like. That's where Coast Transit Authority comes in.
CKevin Coggin said, "We feel like we're going to make a really good impact down there. We're providing really good services on both sides of the bridge in both cities and a really good opportunity for people to park in outlying areas and access the areas where the bridge activities are going to be going on with really frequent service."
Casino Hoppers will pick up at all of the East Biloxi casinos, the Transit Center, and the parking lot under the I-110 bridge. In Ocean Springs, people catch shuttles to bridge festivities from the old Jitney Jungle parking lot on Highway 90, which will then travel down Government Street.
"You can catch the bus anywhere on the route," said Coggin. "Just wave to the driver and indicate that you want to get on and we'll be happy to stop and pick you up."
Since hitting the road in April, officials say the Casino Hoppers have taken off.
"It's done really well. Ridership, last month was our best month. We carried 14,500 people on that route and it continues to grow each month. We are going to be replacing those buses with brand new trolleys in approximately a year, so that will be another attractor to the service."
Coggin says the festivities give CTA a chance to introduce itself to a new clientele.
"To have the general public come on, that wouldn't normally ride, and see what we have to offer. We do really have a quality service and it is a good opportunity for us, a good marketing opportunity."
The Casino Hoppers will operate free of charge in Biloxi from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and in Ocean Springs from noon until 8 p.m. After 3:30 p.m., CTA buses will also pick up passengers at Oak Park Elementary and Ocean Springs High School.