CATS bus system changes start March 30

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Capital Area Transit System officials say the public is about to be inundated by a campaign to make sure riders are educated about the bus system switching to a new route structure and schedule change.

The new routes and schedules will go live March 30. They are the cornerstone of the expanded and speedier service promised by CATS when it asked voters to approve a dedicated property tax in 2012.

CATS CEO Bob Mirabito told The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1ghIy3j ) the agency spent about $100,000 toward public outreach in recent weeks to buy TV and newspaper ads and to print thousands of schedules and route maps for riders.

CATS will also be training volunteers to serve as “ambassadors” stationed at the terminal and new transfer hubs, as well as on buses, fielding questions from riders about routes and destinations.

“We’re going to be like the red coats at the airports when you step off the plane, telling you how to get to the next place,” said Edgar Cage, a Together Baton Rouge leader. The faith-based advocacy group, which has been entrenched with CATS since the tax was passed, is helping organize the ambassador effort.

Mirabito said CATS administrative staff and operations staff are also being trained to provide assistance to customers. He said there will be close to 100 people available to answer questions during the first few weeks of the service rollout.

The new routes and schedules are already online at www.brcats.com. The old website, which customers often complained lacked information and functionality, is in the process of being revamped. In the meantime, the site has a temporary splash screen that directs riders to new route schedules.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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