A Message from Courtney Jackson, RIDE’s Executive Director

2022 was a year of new beginnings for our transit system, its ridership, and Ride New Orleans. Help RIDE continue what we started!

New Link/New Routes implementation, rider education, and support, Bus Rapid Transit, advocacy around the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), bus stop shelters, rider dignity campaigning, youth-led transit conversations, leading the zero-fares for youth discussion, and so much more! 

I mean, what didn’t Ride New Orleans (RIDE) get into this year?!

And our transit system wasn’t the only thing that underwent massive changes in 2022. This year, thanks to your generous support, RIDE welcomed an entirely new team!

I’m so proud to say in my first year as Executive Director with the support of a world-class team we’ve continued the legacy of leading the way in ridership engagement, introducing new ideas, and asking our region’s leaders to take a serious look at what transit could achieve with a proper foundation in place.

This year Dustin Robertson – who became RIDE’s, Policy Manager in January – not only finished up his Ph.D. in City, Culture, and Community: Urban Studies from Tulane but also has been at the forefront of our research and data analysis. In his role, Dustin has overseen several giant research projects including the conducting of a large-scale transportation survey of local hospitality workers to identify how transit can better serve our region’s indispensable hospitality employees.

Dustin has also extensively explored the need for fare-free transit for youth. Read the report here. Dustin was integral in publishing our State of Transit report in November, which examined what’s worked for transit riders this year, and what still needs to be overhauled. Read RIDE’s 2022 State of Transit here.

In August we welcomed Shirani Jayasuriya as RIDE’s new Communications Manager. Shirani led the charge in the planning of many large events including our RIDE Transit Week activities and State of Transit breakfast briefing, amongst others.

Shirani has focused much of her time at RIDE fostering relationships with transit riders and community organizations, collecting experiential data, as well as ensuring riders know how to navigate the new transit system. She’s spent countless hours coordinating focus groups at senior centers, career centers, public libraries, community events, and even at bus stops. 

In September RIDE brought on two Youth Community Organizers & Storytellers, August and Irie, who have been essential in the amplification of youth voices in transit conversations. With their leadership and guidance, RIDE is working to ensure youth have a seat at the transit decision-making table. Check out August, and our youth leaders, moderating RIDE’s State of Transit panel discussion here

August and Irie have done ample outreach at universities and colleges in New Orleans and have quite a bit more planned for this coming year. They will steer our Youth Transit Leadership Cohort in 2023.

2022 has been a huge year for transit in New Orleans, riders, and our RIDE team and we couldn’t have done it without the support of advocates like you!

We can’t wait to do it again in 2023 and hope you’ll continue to RIDE with us as we continue to fight for the world-class transit system the region deserves!  Happy New Year!   

Best, Courtney Jackson
Executive Director
Ride New Orleans