POSTED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 12:57am
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 3:28pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — With a CEO who suddenly resigned, board members accused of stealing money, and complaints from riders, last year was challenging for CATS.
"I wanted to make sure the team stayed focused," said Bob Mirabito, CEO. But now he says 2014 is going to be different. "We should expect to have 100 new bus shelters by the end of the year, refurbishing old bush shelters, put new plexiglass in, some solar lighting; Full speed ahead. we're looking for more people. [That means] more jobs for Baton Rouge."
30 of them to be exact. The system is also revamping transit for people with disabilities and adding ten new routes. Administration says it's a process, and in the meantime, long waits are frustrating for riders.
"Today if you want to go from Earl K. Long to Our Lady of the Lake or that area, it takes three buses and two hours and forty-five minutes." In reference to that, Jackie simply said, "It sucks." Jackie is one of those riders. She didn't want to appear on camera, but she's anxious to see change.
"It's cold and it's going to get colder, and old people like me standing out here waiting on the bus, I want to go to the grocery store and know that that bus is coming right then and there." According to Mirabito, "Under the new system, it should take one bus and forty-five minutes. That's a major change, and we need to communicate that." That's where MV Transportation comes in. They're the company partnering with CATS, that will help make proposed routes and grid plans a reality.
Bill Deville, Project Manager and Chief Operating Officer said, "We're also bringing in a scheduling and contract team, and we're also bringing in an IT team, [and] an architect and engineering team to do the shelters. We're here to bring this transit property to the next level."
And whether in the boardroom or at the bus stop, people we met agree—CATS is on their way.
"The workers are pleasant, they will call and let you know when the next bus is coming. It'll make me feel a whole lot better but they do need a boost," said Jackie.
"We're going to measure our success. We're going to look at customer complaints. We're going to measure our failure. You know, failure, a lot of times is a negative word, but in my mind, it just tells us areas where we can improve," added Mirabito.
You will be seeing these changes around late March. You'll also be able to voice your opinion, as CATS will hold a series of public meetings. We'll keep you updated on NBC33 and on nbc33tv.com