Rock Region METRO is launching a new fare agreement program with the Arkansas Homeless Coalition Friday, Feb. 1 to provide transportation for individuals actively engaged in temporary and supported housing and vocational development programming. The Transportation Alliance Project is a pilot fare agreement program that expands and diversifies the current fare agreement model METRO has with area academic institutions. Through TAP, the Arkansas Homeless Coalition will pay a flat monthly fee to METRO for a program total of 1,000 eligible riders on the METRO system. Riders will be vetted by the Coalition’s partner organizations participating in TAP and determined eligible for participation by the Coalition on a monthly basis, depending on individuals’ active participation in partner programs for temporary and supported housing and vocational development.
“We want to be a solutions provider when it comes to the mobility needs of central Arkansans, and through this innovative fare agreement, we do not have to sacrifice needed revenue from fare payments to do so, so it’s a win-win” said METRO Executive Director Charles Frazier. “There are several organizations in our community working to stabilize working and living conditions for people emerging from homelessness. We’re happy to help them keep their clients actively engaged in temporary and supported housing programs and job training programs by organizing a way for partner organizations to fund transportation at a very affordable rate.”
Current TAP partner organizations include Arkansas Employment Career Center; Canvas Community Church; Central Arkansas ReEntry Coalition; Compassion Center; Family Promise of Pulaski County; Gain, Inc.; Immerse Arkansas; Jefferson Comprehensive Care System, Inc.; Jericho Way Resource Center; Little Rock Community Mental Health; Mercy Community Church; Our House Shelter; River City Ministry of Pulaski County; Romans 1:16 Ministries; the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the UAMS Pulaski County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit. The Coalition is managing partner organization participation and project funding, and METRO is providing required transit training to all partner organizations. The Coalition is managing the administrative task of issuing Coalition photo ID cards to all program participants and partnering with ProTech Solutions for a system database to manage program participants and eligibility.
“The Arkansas Homeless Coalition is thrilled to be a partner in this innovative solution to providing transportation to our partner clients,” said Sandra Wilson, Coalition president. “Our goal is to move 20 individuals from temporary and supported housing to permanent housing in 2019 and continue to be a community resource for ending homelessness in central Arkansas. We anticipate this pilot program will be a game-changer in reaching that goal.”
How It Works
Beginning Friday, Feb. 1, individuals actively enrolled in TAP partner programs for temporary and supported housing and vocational training may apply with their respective organizations for a Coalition 31-Day METRO transit pass called the Transitions Pass. Partner organizations will update ProTech Solutions software called The Good Grid to track and monitor participant eligibility on a monthly basis. The Coalition will produce participants Coalition-branded photo IDs and distribute Transitions passes at key locations, using the Good Grid system to confirm participant eligibility. Once program participants have a Coalition-issued photo ID and a 31-Day Transitions funded pass, they may ride a METRO bus “free” by using the pass in the on-board METRO farebox and showing their Coalition-issued photo IDs to the bus operator.
“I’m so proud to be involved in this pilot program and look forward to working with the Coalition service providers to effectively tackle a major need in our community, which is affordable transportation,” said City of Little Rock Vice-Mayor B.J. Wyrick, city liaison to Rock Region METRO and Coalition board member.