Next month will mark nine years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, flooding nearly 80 percent of the city. In the wake of disaster, the city has demonstrated remarkable resilience. Its population has rebounded to about 86 percent of where it stood before the flooding.
Some key points from the report:
- In 2004, RTA’s peak fleet was 301 buses. By 2012, that number had dropped to just 79.
- Revenue hours declined from over 1 million prior to the storm to fewer than 600,000 in 2012.
- By 2012, only 36% of the pre-storm daily trips had been restored.
- In 2012, no bus routes in the entire system operated at 15 minute or better frequency, down from 12 previously.
- Meanwhile, overall service level on the city’s historic streetcar routes declined by only 9%, and the number of available vehicles (66) is the same today as in 2005.
What accounts for the difference between the relatively robust network of 2005 and today’s service offering? Obviously no transit agency would have an easy time recovering from the damage done to its vehicles and operational infrastructure by a catastrophic event like Katrina. It would be ludicrous to suggest otherwise. But nearly a decade on, something has prevented RTA from ramping back up to its prior service level.