People who ride LA Swift say they're relieved; Saving LA Swift

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POSTED: Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 5:30pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 8:21pm

Advocates have been working to save LA Swift. It has been in operation since Hurricane Katrina. Local groups have been trying to find the cash to continue the service, after the DOTD announced it is dropping local funding for it last month.

The groups, including the Center for Planning Excellence and Baton Rouge Area Chamber, have been figuring out a way to get local funds to save the service, and they are almost there.

Donald Patterson relies on LA Swift to get him to work everyday. Patterson said when he found out the service would be cut, he didn't know what to do.

"My feelings were hurt. My feelings were hurt you know it's hard. It's hard because you know it's hard to get a job anywhere," Patterson said. "It's very convenient because I don't have to pay and get on a Greyhound that pay $30 for a round trip, instead of $10 for a round trip."

Patterson said he does not just use the service to go to work.

"It's very convenient. I can go see my family whenever I want," Patterson said. "People got children, you know, a lot of women have children that live in New Orleans and they stay down here so it's very convenient for everyone."

Petties Rickey works at the station, and he said having this bus that transports people to and from New Orleans is a necessity.

"If that bus leaves, my heart goes out to them because a lot of them financially can't afford a car, can't afford insurance to have a car, and they just trying to make ends meat," Rickey said. "They are not capable of really getting back and forward to New Orleans and some of them want the independence, that's why they need a bus."

However, now since there's hope, Patterson said he is going to keep riding.

"I think it should never stop. It should just keep going for as long as they can," Patterson said.

More than 200 riders use the service everyday. Advocates said they hope to save the service by donations, but the funds have not been approved yet.  

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