Alexandria, La. (Feb. 28, 2022) — The City of Alexandria has repaired more than 120 bus benches and plans to replace another 50 by the end of this week as part of an ongoing improvement plan for its ATRANS public transit system.
Earlier this month, workers with the City’s Traffic and Maintenance departments began the process of repairing benches and adding new backs while the Street Department handled placing the repaired benches at bus stops. “It has been a unified effort with our Public Works Department and they have done a great job of working with us to repair and replace benches,” said Transit Manger Ann Howard. “We are on track to have all the benches repaired within the next few days. If you see a bench that needs repair, please report it to us by calling 318-441-6204 and we’ll follow-up on it.”
The City is also working to renovate its existing sheltered bus stop locations by cleaning and repairing those sites. Additionally, the City is working on plans to add additional covered shelter stops, with five new shelters planned to be placed near major shopping centers as well as the Holocaust Memorial site downtown.
“We understand that a significant number of residents rely on ATRANS as their primary means of transportation,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall. “It has been many years since there has been a comprehensive effort to review, repair and replace the system assets, from benches to buses. We are working to do that now to ensure our passengers have the best possible experience.”
Hall noted the City has several hundred bus stops throughout Alexandria and Pineville and has been working to address issues at ATRANS stops for some time. The City recently took control of the stops after ending an agreement with an outside organization for bus bench and shelter management. “Now that we have control over those sites we can move forward to stabilize what we have and then look at whatever improvements need to be made, and that is what we are doing,” Hall said.
To ensure ongoing maintenance of the stops the City is seeking a variety of grants aimed at improving public transportation systems. The City is also looking at the possibility of creating an Adopt A Stop program similar to those used in other cities encouraging local groups and businesses to help with upkeep and maintenance as well as potential advertising programs to generate funds.
In addition to improving the bus stop sites, Howard said ATRANS is in the process of replacing the large passenger buses it uses on its eight routes as well as the vans used for paratransit service. “We got one new bus last year, we have received two more this year and we have four more on order. We also received three new vans for paratransit that went into service this year,” she said.
Howard said she is hopeful the new buses will help attract new drivers. ATRANS currently has openings for full- and part-time drivers. To apply go to the City of Alexandria website at www.cityofalexandriala.com/job-listings.