transportation

The school bus company that transports most public school students in New Orleans has laid off its drivers in a dispute over $7.2 million in unpaid bills.

Blaine Krage, a spokesman for Warrenville, Ill.-based Durham School Services, told The Times-Picayune Tuesday that the company has sent termination letters to 142 drivers and 55 bus monitors telling them "we will not need their services this upcoming school year."

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines will be offering direct flights from New Orleans to Dallas. The additional service kicks in just in time for the Super Bowl.

Spirit Airlines is starting service to New Orleans, offering daily non-stop flights between Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

New Orleans International says the low-cost carrier plans to start the flights on Jan. 24 with either a 145-seat Airbus A319 or 178-seat Airbus A320.

The planned flight schedule calls for one round trip between New Orleans and Dallas daily.

The ferry that carries passengers across the Mississippi from White Castle to Carville ferry has been temporarily docked since June due to a mechanical malfunction, but state transportation officials say it will be shut down permanently by year's end to save $800,000 annually.

It is a plan that U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond hopes the state will reconsider. Richmond has asked Gov. Bobby Jindal to reconsider his proposal to shut down the White Castle and Reserve-Edgard ferries.

Imagine going into bankruptcy with billions of dollars in cash still in your bank account. That's what American Airlines did last November. The thinking was that management would gut the company's pensions and union contracts and emerge from bankruptcy ready to compete.

But then US Airways said it could take over American and be profitable, and it wouldn't have to hurt American's employees nearly as bad in the process. American's pilots, mechanics and flight attendants loved that idea.

West bank bound lanes on the Huey P. Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish are closed until 5 a.m. on Monday while workers place girders for wider lanes.

State officials are urging motorists to use the Crescent City Connection in New Orleans or the Interstate 310 Bridge in Lulling as alternate crossings of the Mississippi River.

The Huey P. Long Bridge widening project will include three 11-foot lanes in each direction. The total width, including shoulders, will more than double from the current driving surface.

Completion is projected for 2013.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Planning groups in Baton Rouge and New Orleans have set aside money to study building passenger rail service linking the two major metropolitan areas.

The Advocate reports that the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Planning Organization last week approved spending $105,000 in federal money for a feasibility study of a commuter rail service to New Orleans.

The Lens

City officials Tuesday could take the first moves to expand the city’s number of taxicabs by as many as 120 Tuesday as they discuss a series of ordinances meant to improve the frequently criticized fleet.

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority is rolling out it's new fleet of busses that run on biodiesel fuel.

Locals as well as visitors to New Orleans can enjoy the entire legendary St. Charles Avenue streetcar line. It now runs all the way to the end of the line at Claiborne and Carrollton. WWNO's Deb Albertson reports.

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