RTA Traveling Tips for Mardi Gras

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The RTA has a number of helpful tips and tools to help residents and tourists enjoy a safe, fun-filled Mardi Gras.

Tip #1: Make safety your top priority.  Public Transit is the safest, most cost-efficient and stress-free way of getting around congested traffic, street closures and limited parking. Also, remember to Live Outside The Lines and keep off the streetcar tracks and buses’ right of way!  Do not park on streetcar lines, rope or tarp spots on the neutral ground, or block transit routes in any way for the safety of all our valued riders.

Tip #2: Make Public Transit your “Designated Driver.”  By allowing RTA to be your “designated driver,” potential for drunk driving can be eliminated. Additionally, RTA buses and streetcars operate through late night hours. Use the trip planner tool on the RTA website to #RollWithRTA.

Tip #3:  Remember the two-hour rule.  Make plans to travel to parades early. Crowds build up quickly and roads will begin closing two hours before parades start.  RTA buses and streetcars will detour 2 hours before and up to 2 hours after each intersecting parade.Handy Mardi Gras Riders Guides showing all of these routes are available at local businesses hotels, and retailers around the city, and can also be downloaded from our website in English, Spanish and Vietnamese at http://www.norta.com/Maps-Schedules/Mardi-Gras.

Tip #4: Buy a 24-hour Jazzy Pass.  Pick up your 24-hour Jazzy Passes in advance at RTA ticket vending machines, local vendors or bus and streetcar operators.  For just $3, get unlimited rides on all buses and streetcars for a full 24 hours after you first dip your pass.  RTA official vendors include all Walgreens Stores, Unique Grocery, and select Quik Cash locations. For a full list of locations with addresses and phone numbers, visit the website at www.norta.com.

 Tip #5: Use GoMobile to quickly board your vehicle at the tap of your smartphone. GoMobile is the convenient new mobile ticketing application that you can use to buy and store your transit tickets, and access them directly on your phone upon boarding your bus, streetcar or ferry.  It only takes about one minute for the initial set-up of your account, and then you can choose the Jazzy Pass or Integrated Pass that fits your needs.  Tickets automatically store in your GoMobile app’s “ticket wallet.” When you are ready to board, just activate your ticket by tapping the screen and show it to your friendly RTA operator.

 Tip #6: Bike and Ride.  Bikes are encouraged with our Bike & Ride program.  The service is included in your fare, and useful for navigating the anticipated parade-day traffic. See http://www.norta.com/Getting-Around/Bike-Ride for details on how to Bike & Ride safely.

 Tip #7: Travel in groups. Buses come with enough seats for your entire krewe to ride. Get together and designate meet-up spots, such as our comfortable, covered bus shelters so your whole group can hop on to the next parade together.

 Tip #8: Take the Ferry. If you’re coming from the Westbank, the ferry has extended hours through Mardi Gras, with the last trip departing the Canal St. landing at 12:15 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Lundi Gras; and 9:45 p.m. on Mardi Gras Day, Feb. 28. Additionally, to accommodate the capacity of the anticipated crowds, another vessel will be placed in operation starting the Saturday before Mardi Gras (February 25) through Mardi Gras Day (February 28). Integrated Passes on RTA’s GoMobile Ticketing application allow unlimited rides on all ferries, buses and streetcars.

 Finally, follow @NewOrleansRTA on Facebook, Twitter and all social media for up-to-the-minute informationInteract with fellow riders and tag RTA in your posts at #RTAMardiGras. The Customer Care Rideline will be operating extended hours through 9:00 p.m. on parade days during Mardi Gras and can be reached by calling 504-248-3900. Visit www.norta.com for all RTA information.

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