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Ride Acadiana hopes to expand transit program after successful initial run

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A pilot transit program for commuters between Lafayette and several Acadiana communities has demonstrated a need for a regional transit system.

That’s according to Monique Boulet, chief executive officer of the Acadiana Planning Commission.

The Ride Acadiana program will end April 5 when funding runs out. But its success can be measured by the number of people who have taken advantage of it.

Since August, two 16-seat buses provided by Lafayette Consolidated Government have traveled round trip each weekday between seven stops in Lafayette and 13 stops total in the communities of Crowley, Duson, Rayne and Scott. Stops in the city of Lafayette include at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and South Louisiana Community College.

Surveys conducted by Ride Acadiana indicate there have been about 2,375 “boardings” as of early March. The term refers to the number of people who have gotten onto a bus, rather than the number of riders. Someone who boarded a bus twice in one day, for example, would count as two boardings.

The majority of the riders have been people commuting to and from jobs in Lafayette, or those who were seeking employment.

Ride Acadiana and the Lafayette Transit System are working together to come up with a funding model to present to area communities or businesses so that the program might be expanded.

“We now know the costs, processes and systems required to extend transit service into the surrounding region. We’ll be able to share that knowledge with municipalities or even large corporate entities who may be interested in developing transportation alternatives,” Boulet stated in a press release.

The Acadiana Planning Commission administered the program in cooperation with Lafayette Consolidated Government. A U.S. Department of Agriculture grant funded it, with support from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Flyers are being posted inside buses to alert riders about the conclusion of the pilot program.

For more information, email info@rideacadiana.com