Wal-Mart employees can save tax money on ORT express route

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 193 views 

Wal-Mart Stores employees have another way to purchase passes for the Commuter Express, a park-and-ride route of Ozark Regional Transit. Home office employees can buy the passes using payroll deduction, allowing them to be purchased pre-tax, said Jeff Hatley, mobility manager and public information officer for ORT.

Employees will be able purchase the passes in June, Hatley said. The program is being made possible through Wage Works, which offers ways to help people save money by using pre-tax dollars to pay for healthcare and commuter expenses.

In January, ORT established the first express route in Northwest Arkansas in conjunction with NWA Emerging Leaders. The weekday route runs from the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville to the Wal-Mart home office area in Bentonville.

The route started with seven riders but has since fallen to one regular rider. About a week after the route was established, an overnight fire destroyed 20 buses including the 55-seat coach-style bus that was set to run the route. ORT’s paratransit vehicles are running the route now, but the company has two other coach-style buses, which could run the route if warranted.

“It’s just not cost-effective at this point to run the motor coach for one passenger,” Hatley said.

A monthly pass to ride the route is $130, and a one-way ride is $5 per seat, according to the company’s website. The route departs from the Fayetteville mall at 6:45 a.m. It departs from the home office at Eighth and F streets in Bentonville at 5:40 p.m.