CTA to offer free transit service Wednesday, open house Thursday

Coast Transit Authority is celebrating “Try Transit Week” this week with free rides all day Wednesday and an Open House on Thursday.

CTA is hoping that residents and visitors will use the chance to get acquainted with the convenience of public transit, which today is surpassing its pre-Katrina passenger numbers

“The keys to our success are our loyal passengers and our loyal employees,” said CTA Executive Director Kevin Coggin. “We have also had excellent support from our local elected officials and our congressional delegation in Washington. D.C.”

CTA has experienced tremendous success in the 25 months since Hurricane Katrina. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, CTA provided free emergency transportation services, and since then has seen its fixed-route ridership surpass pre-Katrina levels, even with its popular Beachcomber line out of service since Katrina.

“We’ve seen ridership shift from the Beachcomber line to our Pass Road routes,” Coggin said. “The people are still here, and the need is still here. The difference is that pre-Katrina our ridership was dominated by tourists. Today, it’s a more local audience.”

Coggin said that CTA’s ridership surveys show that more people have become reliant on public transit. “More and more we’re finding ‘no other mode of transportation’ as the reason people are using public transit and we’re glad to be here to serve.”

CTA also introduced a popular Casino Hopper route for visitors to Biloxi casinos.

The CTA management and staff will be at the new Biloxi Transit Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to greet and thank passengers. All CTA services will be free for the day.

“Our intention is to thank our regular passengers and to welcome anyone who has never used our services,” Coggin said. “This is the opportunity for anyone to use any of our services free.”

The Thursday Open House will be from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Coast Transit Offices at 333 DeBuys Road, north of Pass Road. The public will have a chance to see CTA’s 25-year Transit Development Plan, tour the facilities, meet staff and ask questions.

For more information on Coast Transit, click here, or call 228-896-8080.