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People who depend on LA Swift take their last ride

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 5:06pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 5:46pm

It was an emergency fix that lasted nearly 8 years. The LA Swift bus service made its final trips between Baton Rouge and New Orleans Wednesday.

Local officials tried, but couldn't find enough cash to keep it running. For some riders, losing LA Swift is inconvenient.

They'll have to spend more money for a Greyhound bus or gas to drive themselves back and forth.

Mauria Balladaris rides LA Swift to get to her doctor's office in New Orleans. Balladaris can't drive because she has bad vision. She tells me, LA Swift was her only option.

"I don't know. I really don't know," Balladaris said. "Some people don't have choices, and I think the Swift was really a great help for a lot of people."

Charles Peters feels the same.

"It's the cheapest option, but even if they double it to $10 one-way. That would be a blessing," Peters said. I'm very disappointed. I've been catching the bus for the last four years, and it's more convenient, and having this being the last day is really hurtful. What about other people that work down here? What about their jobs?"

LA Swift has been running since Hurricane Katrina thanks to a grant from the Federal Transportation Administration. Rose Chaney said she relied on it then and still relies on it now.

"Katrina came in and destroyed a lot of people's lives. Some people can get back on their feet early, but some people just can't. It takes a while and we need this LA Swift," Chaney said. "I feel really bad about it because LA Swift was the only transportation for a lot of people to their jobs, to their doctors, especially senior citizens that are not about to drive to get back and forth."

Even though the service is gone for now, Chaney and Peters said they still have hope.

"I wish it luck. I hope it comes back," Peters said.

"LA Swift, I'm going to miss you, but I hope you get back," Chaney said.

Even though the FTA rejected the funds to continue LA Swift, advocates said they are not giving up hope.  

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