Ozark Regional Transit moves into new office building

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 795 views 

Springdale-based transit provider Ozark Regional Transit announced Monday (Dec. 7) it has moved into a new 8,600-square-foot administration building at 2423 E. Robinson Ave.

“It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally moved into our new building,” said Jeff Hatley, mobility manager/public information officer for ORT. “Our new facilities will give us the administrative room to grow to what NWA needs in a regional public transit system.”

The new building was built between the old 7,000-square-foot office and Robinson Avenue, or U.S. Highway 412 East. A second phase of the project will remove the old office that was built in the 1970s, and it will be replaced with a parking lot.

Construction started on Feb. 24 on the $2.89 million project. The building is being paid for with a $2.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration that was awarded in September 2018. It was the third consecutive year ORT had applied for the grant. ORT will use the land on which the building is located for the required 20% match for the grant.

Lowell-based Oelke Construction Co. is the general contractor. Fort Smith-based Tim A. Risley and Associates is the designer.

ORT will host an open house in the spring and facility tours between 1 and 3 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday or Friday (Dec. 9 to 11).

In October, total ridership fell 55.8% to 12,568, from 28,460 in the same month in 2019. Between January and October, ridership has declined 40.6% to 148,756, from 250,417 in the same period in 2019.

ORT has three fixed routes in Fayetteville, three in Springdale and one in Bentonville. The provider offers on-demand transit in Rogers using two buses. An express bus service that runs between Fayetteville and Bentonville that’s popular for students of NorthWest Arkansas Community College. A $144,269 grant from the Walton Family Foundation will allow ORT to offer zero-far service through 2021.