A new ferry called the RTA 2 took its maiden voyage on October 10, 2020, after two years of delays. Passengers will be taken on the Missississippi River between Algiers Point and Canal Street.
The RTA 1, RTA 2 and another aluminum boat were slated to be completed in 2018. The vessels were completed on time however did not pass a series of Coast Guard inspections. A feud ensued between RTA and the manufacturer that took two years to negotiate.
The RTA 2 is a much-welcomed site at the Algiers Point-Canal Street route which did not have any ferry service for three months last year. The ferries that serviced the route for 40 years had such high repair costs that they were frequently left out of service.
According to the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), the boat is environmentally greener and more fuel-efficient than its predecessors. Marine fuel is known to emit nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides into the air when burning in combustion engines. The RTA 2 releases lower levels of nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides which are the main pollutants caused by marine boats.
The aluminum catamaran-style boat allows for a faster, calmer journey. Passenger Christina Burrle says the ferry does not rock up and down. She goes on to describe the experience as a smooth relaxing ride.
Guiding the ferry straight across the river might seem like a simple task, deckhand Joshua Burris said. “But it takes a lot of technique, practice and great ship-handling capabilities when you get high river stages and the currents start moving at five, six, seven, eight knots. You can catch yourself in an eddy, kind of like a blender, and you can flip yourself all the way around.”
So far passengers have been pleased with the new ferry. The seats are nicer and the clean cabin offers seats with tables that look out open windows. Under each seat are life jackets stored in a nice pocket under the seat giving passengers easy access if needed. The older ferries provided one big community bin of life preservers.
“It’s only a buck each way. But often there is practically no one riding the ferry,” said the honorary mayor of Algiers, George Hubbell.
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