Algiers to See Ferry Service

Many Algiers residence let their frustration be known as they held up signs protesting the lack of a Mississippi River ferry in front of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) building in New Orleans. Algiers has suffered as its tourism has dwindled since the ferries have not been running and residence have suffered with commuting to the east bank.

The route from Chalmette to Lower Coast Algiers also has been down for around two weeks and the Algiers Point-to-Canal Street ferry was stopped two months ago due to mechanical problems. The aging vessels were breaking down and the pair of new ferries were having repeated problems. The two new ferries that were purchased for $10 million could not pass a U.S. Coast Guard inspection because of corrosion on the boats and safety equipment problems.

“We want to make sure we get to the only acceptable outcome. The only acceptable outcome for our riders is reliable ferry service, period,” RTA CEO Alex Wiggins said.

The RTA has a new company to run the ferry systems. Labmar Ferry agreed to a $6.1 million contract. The company will run the system long-term and bring replacement ferries for the Canal-Street-to Algiers Point route across the Mississippi River. These replacement ferries will be temporary boats that can be in service as soon as a week from December 9, 2019.

Labmar Ferry is a joint venture that is made up of Laborde Marine, Circular Consulting, Royal Engineers & Consultants and MSF Global. The company beat out competitor HMS Ferries based out of Washington state.

“I think that we needed to work with a firm that’s established in the maritime community and has expertise in maritime operations, and with that expertise being their primary line of business it made sense that the RTA develop a relationship with a company like that,” Wiggins said.

Fortunately the new contract with the new company will not bring a raise in fares. Many residents are thankful and relieved the ferries will once again run to Algiers.

“Thank you for taking action on this because we’ve been waiting on this for some time,” said Algiers resident Maria Clark.

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