Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Residents weigh in on CATS ''Bus Rapid Transit'' project

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BATON ROUGE - The city's ''Bus Rapid Transit'' project is moving forward in the capital area. On Tuesday, CATS held a meeting to get some feedback from people who will be utilizing the service. 

The process of creating a 10-mile bus route will hopefully enhance city transportation. Extending from LSU and downtown, the route will also extend north up Plank Road to its interchange with Airline Highway.

"It should reduce congestion," CATS CEO Bill Deville said. "At some point, it will bring economic development. You will have more mobility."

The project will cost around $50 million to accommodate thousands of people, including residents, businesses, and of course students. However, one commuter feels it may not meet his needs.

"I don't know if I will be using it that much, but I want to make sure that it's accessible for people with disabilities," Stephen Kauffman told WBRZ.

Kauffman has been disabled for most of his life, and started riding the current bus system in 1998. He says their accommodations for the wheelchair impaired are OK, but hopes BRT will have a better pitch.

"My wheelchair has to be restrained on the bus," he said. "But if the restraints don't deploy, and they can't hook them to the wheelchair, that makes it kind of dangerous. They have ramps, but not all of them fold down like they're supposed to."

Officials say there's no need to worry: the buses will be handicap accessible.

"Right now on our fixed route system, we have a bus-lift that lifts the wheelchair," Deville said. "Same thing on electric buses."

CATS is still in stage one of the project, which focuses primarily on two things—bringing in buses, and building new stations in the Plank Road corridor.

The projected date of completion is 2022.


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