The St. Tammany Parish GoStat transportation program and the Council of Aging St. Tammany (COAST) transportation program are joining forces and combining efforts to create a new and more cost-effective transportation system for St. Tammany Parish residents — St. Tammany Area Transit, or STAR Transit. St. Tammany Parish Government reevaluated its transit operations in order to accommodate a funding gap created by a significant decrease in federal funding for local transit, both urban and rural.
The COAST and GoSTAT partnership to create the new STAR Transit began in October. This is a demand-response, curb-to-curb system that is open to the general public over the age of 13. Passengers must call ahead to schedule trips, and are asked to do so one week in advance. The hours of operation are from 6 a.m. – 6p.m., Monday through Saturday, with closures on twelve holidays throughout the year. The cost per trip, per rider ranges from $1.50 - $4 one way, and from $3- $8 round-trip, depending on the mileage traveled. Disabled passengers, Medicare cardholders, and children ages six – 11 are charged half fares. Travel aides and children under six ride free. Passengers 60 years of age and older enjoy free ridership from 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. daily. Statistics from the new STAR Transit program have shown that COAST has doubled their Senior Citizen and disabled ridership in recent months, while adding additional riders from the general public.
STAR Transit is still in a transitional phase, and as such, ride availability is currently backlogged, and delays are to be expected. Waiting lists currently exist for most dates in November, however ten buses were added to the fleet as of last week and should soon be in circulation, and a new software program to handle scheduling will soon be implemented. With these two measures in place, riders will see an increase in available ride times, and a decrease in wait times for scheduling pickups. All potential riders are asked to exercise patience during this transition as issues that arise will be addressed as quickly as possible.
St. Tammany Parish citizens can call the STAR Transit offices at (985) 327-0185 for more information.