“We did not get the quarter-penny sales tax to fund public transit that would have funded the MOVE Central Arkansas bus service improvement plan, which included major system improvements. We continue to explore how we can implement low- or no-cost improvements aligned with the MOVE Central Arkansas plan and make minor improvements within the constraints of our current funding structure,” said Becca Green, METRO director of public engagement. “We won’t be able to make the major changes our riders continue to request, such as system-wide extended operating hours and adding service miles that deviate farther out from existing routes. The good news is that we continue to educate our community about the service we have and make minor improvements we hope riders will appreciate, without the benefit of a dedicated source of funding.”
- 01. Overview
- 02. The Process
- 03. 2018 ASE Public Information Meeting Dates and Times
- 04. Route Assessments
- 05. Route 4 Levy/Amboy
- 06. Route 6 Granite Mountain
- 07. Route 11 Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Drive
- 08. Route 18 McAlmont
- 09. Public Comment Period
- 10. Stay Connected
The METRO staff began its annual service review in April. The process of moving service miles to different places within the system involves a lot of math: The interlocal agreement that created the agency in 1986 dictates that any service miles within the system must stay within the jurisdiction that funds them. For example, service miles cannot be added in the City of Little Rock without removing service miles from another Little Rock location. In other words, the agency cannot add service miles to one jurisdiction by removing them from another jurisdiction. (Moving service miles from one jurisdiction to another could be possible with a corresponding establishment of a dedicated public transit funding source, which is outside of the agency’s control.)
Public comments are taken into consideration at the review’s onset and continue to influence the proposals. Technology tools also play a role: METRO uses transit planning software to make more precise calculations to create proposed route changes, taking into account jurisdiction boundaries, which change on an irregular basis. Automated passenger counters provide accurate data as to how many riders are boarding and alighting at each bus stop in the 1,600-stop system. Field work performed by METRO staff members yields information on trip generators (places to which riders travel), rider behavior patterns (such as when riders are traveling and why: work and school commutes, travel to health appointments, grocery stores, etc.) and factors that could affect proposed route schedule times (at-grade railroad crossings, school car rider lines, etc.).
“The bottom line is that, through hard work and a lot of careful, intensive planning, we are improving service for passengers by offering meaningful connections to destinations and refining schedules, all without the benefit of any additional funding,” Green said. “We continue to be extremely cost-efficient as we operate within the constraints of our current funding structure.”
During June and July 2018, METRO staff are prepping public information materials for each proposed change.
“We are excited to share this information,” said Green. “It gives our community a more accurate snapshot of public transit use and potential for our area. I think it demonstrates the dedication our board and staff bring to serving our community by constantly seeking ways to improve the system.”
Once the public information meetings pass, the agency will host a 15-day public comment period Aug. 1-Aug. 15, 2018, followed by a meeting of the METRO Board of Directors, who are slated to vote on the proposed changes at Sept. 18 board meeting. Any approved changes will be implemented in late November. METRO staff members will work on updating affected route schedules (some routes without a route pattern change will still undergo a schedule change related to changes made on routes that will undergo a route pattern change), the bus service map, bus stop sign changes and other signage updates pending board approval of the proposed changes. All new information will be coordinated for a late November rollout, as the current system will be in place until the changes are implemented.
Rock Region METRO is hosting two public meetings in July 2018 to present annual service enhancement information to interested persons for two routes in North Little Rock and two routes in Little Rock:
Monday, July 30, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Central Arkansas Library System Main Branch, Darragh Center Auditorium, 100 S. Rock St., Little Rock
Tuesday, July 31, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., North Little Rock City Hall, 300 Main St., North Little Rock
METRO Local and METRO Express Bus Service
All 25 bus routes (21 local fixed routes and four express routes) received a thorough review and assessment. Because the service enhancements are low- or no-cost proposals, improvements could not be made to every route, as some opportunities/suggested enhancements that would dramatically improve service along certain routes would require additional funding, which is not available at this time. You may read through all of the route assessments below by clicking on the respective route names.
Route 1 Pulaski Heights 2018 Route Assessment
Route 2 South Main 2018 Route Assessment
Route 3 Baptist Medical Center 2018 Route Assessment
Route 4 Levy/Amboy 2018 Route Assessment
Route 5 West Markham 2018 Route Assessment
Route 6 Granite Mountain 2018 Route Assessment
Route 7 Shorter College 2018 Route Assessment
Route 8 Rodney Parham 2018 Route Assessment
Route 9 West Central/John Barrow Road 2018 Route Assessment
Route 10 McCain Mall 2018 Route Assessment
Route 11 Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Drive 2018 Route Assessment
Route 12 Clinton Center/Airport 2018 Route Assessment
Route 13 UA – Pulaski Technical College 2018 Route Assessment
Route 14 Rosedale 2018 Route Assessment
Route 16 UA – Little Rock 2018 Route Assessment
Route 17 Mabelvale/Downtown 2018 Route Assessment
Route 18 McAlmont 2018 Route Assessment
Route 19 Hensley Express 2018 Assessment
Route 20 Hanger Hill/College Station 2018 Route Assessment
Route 21 Riverdale 2018 Route Assessment
Route 22 University Avenue/Mabelvale 2018 Route Assessment
Route 23 Baseline/Southwest 2018 Route Assessment
Route 25 Pinnacle Mountain Express 2018 Route Assessment
Route 26 Maumelle/Oak Grove Express 2018 Route Assessment
Route 36 Jacksonville/Sherwood Express 2018 Route Assessment
To increase access to transit for more people, METRO proposes a change to Route 4 Levy/Amboy.
Route 4 currently operates two patterns: The peak time pattern reaches the Amboy neighborhood via Donovan Briley Boulevard, and the off-peak time pattern only serves the Levy neighborhood, via Allen Street.
METRO proposes running the route exclusively along the path of the peak pattern, thereby increasing off-peak time period access to residents of the Amboy area, as well as recently built apartment complexes along Donovan Briley.
To streamline service and offer new transit opportunities to areas of interest, METRO proposes a change to Route 6 Granite Mountain.
Route 6 currently operates through downtown Little Rock along Louisiana and Scott Streets, then taking Commerce and Rock Streets to 21st Street. The route then operates behind Horace Mann Middle School before joining Springer Boulevard.
METRO proposes keeping the essence of the route the same, while making moderate changes to routing through downtown and minor changes to routing outside of downtown. Specifically, the proposed route follows the I-30 access road to 9th Street, rejoining the original route at Commerce Street. A slight jog west at Rock Street is eliminated in favor of using Commerce, which is one block off Rock Street, to reach 21st Street. The route then deviates to the I-30 access road again, serving the previously underserved Megabus inter-city bus service stop and the Our House shelter on Roosevelt Road, creating a two-way route along a greater length of Roosevelt.
To improve on-time performance and offer two additional bus trips per day, METRO proposes a change to Route 11 Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Drive.
Route 11 was modified in 2016 to serve Philander Smith College on Chester Street. METRO has attracted little ridership from the college, although that could change in the future, and METRO is currently assessing options for improving service in the area.
METRO proposes returning the route to its pre-October 2016 alignment, operating straight along Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Drive instead of making a 5-block deviation to Chester Street. This proposal means the majority of riders on Route 11, which access the route from its southernmost point, will have two additional bus runs per day, with schedule time savings gained from eliminating the route deviation.
To improve on-time performance and offer a cross-town connection to Route 10 McCain Mall, METRO proposes a change to Route 18 McAlmont.
METRO proposes returning to the pre-October 2016 routing along Ben Street and 19th Street.
Due to the recent opening of a railroad crossing bridge at the end of McCain Boulevard, METRO also proposes to extend Route 18 to eastern McCain Boulevard and terminate the route at the Walmart on Richards Road. Rather than interlining the route with Route 10, which would require cutting service on the high-performing McCain Mall route, METRO proposes adjusting the schedule of these two routes to allow nine or 10 peak and midday transfer opportunities at the Walmart. The downside to this proposal is that it will add five minutes to the McAlmont bus arrival frequencies. METRO staff believes the major benefit of adding a cross-town connection to the McCain Mall route outweighs this drawback.
Thank you for your interest in improving central Arkansas’ public transit service. The public comment period for the 2018 Annual Service Enhancements process is Wednesday, Aug. 1 to Wednesday, Aug. 15.
Comments may be made by emailing the firstname.lastname@example.org address. Please be sure to include 2018 Annual Service Enhancements in the subject line.
METRO takes public comments on a variety of concerns at any time throughout the year. Please share your thoughts with us by using the Email Us form under the interactive Questions/Concerns links at the top and bottom of this page.