Rock Region METRO wants input on public transit needs

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 701 views 

Rock Region METRO is kicking off a six month comprehensive operational analysis project, R.I.D.E. 2020 – Route Innovation, Development and Evaluation – with four public input meetings happening Wednesday and Thursday (Jan. 22-23).

METRO has contracted Transportation Management & Design, Inc., a San Diego-based transit planning firm known for innovative and sustainable transit operations planning, to oversee this project.

The TMD has managed various large and small transit projects across the country, and will facilitate the public meetings to review what the project will entail and collect information from citizens and riders regarding mobility needs in central Arkansas. The TMD team will return to central Arkansas in May for additional public meetings.

“We want to hear from community leaders, residents and riders regarding where they think transit service is needed and how often they would like service to operate,” said Charles D. Frazier, METRO executive director. “We also look forward to sharing what we have learned so far regarding an initial service analysis, a peer system analysis and a funding structure analysis. It may be that certain routes or types of services are recommended to be discontinued or added to parts of our service area when the consulting team presents a final plan, and we want to ensure transit riders, business owners, residents and other stakeholders have opportunities to share their ideas in advance of plan development.”

R.I.D.E. 2020 will re-imagine the fixed route network – which has not undergone a major change in 33 years. This involves:

Identifying short- and long-range transit operational plans and capital finance plans;
Determining effective means of leveraging funding to increase ridership and revenue while addressing the transportation needs of the region;
Conducting data-driven evaluation of existing service and performance, market conditions, consumer expectations, and future financial opportunities and transit needs (including managing a comprehensive transit poll within Pulaski County in other central Arkansas municipalities soon);
Developing creative, effective and achievable recommendations to address community mobility needs, grow ridership and position METRO for long-term financial sustainability.

The outcome will be a ridership-focused new network design, Rock Region METRO said.

Dates, times and venues for the four public meetings are as follows:

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m..
Central Arkansas Library System Main Branch, Darragh Center, 100 S. Rock St., Little Rock

North Little Rock
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 5-7 p.m.
Laman Library, 2801 Orange St., North Little Rock

Southwest Little Rock
Thursday, Jan. 23, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Central Arkansas Library System Dee Brown Branch, 6325 Baseline Rd., Little Rock

West Little Rock
Thursday, Jan. 23, 5-7 p.m.
Noah’s Event Center, 21 Rahling Circle, Little Rock