Rock Region METRO observes Earth Day this year with a celebration of the connection of two bus routes that provides North Little Rock with its first east-west bus route connection. Route 18 McAlmont now connects to Route 10 McCain Mall at the Walmart on McCain Boulevard in North Little Rock, offering Rose City residents and other North Little Rock and Pulaski County residents a direct connection to METRO’s second most popular route.
“This is a very exciting day for our system, and I’d like to thank Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde, North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith, the members of the North Little Rock City Council and Pulaski County Quorum Court, and the METRO Board of Directors for making this connection possible,” said Charles D. Frazier, METRO executive director. “With this connection, more citizens will have direct access to jobs, health care and shopping opportunities along Route 10 McCain Mall, fulfilling our public transit agency’s mission of connecting people to the places most meaningful to them.”
Prior to this new route connection, Route 18 McAlmont riders, in order to reach businesses along Route 10 McCain Mall, had to take an up-to-half-hour bus ride to downtown Little Rock to make a connection to the Route 10 bus and then ride up to another half-hour to reach the Walmart on McCain Boulevard, which is the Route 10 termination point. Now, Route 18 McAlmont riders are able to reach the Walmart on McCain in roughly 15 minutes. Route 18 carried 130,000 passenger trips in 2018.
The Walmart on McCain Boulevard is the No. 8 transit stop in the METRO’s system, out of roughly 1,600 transit stops. Bus riders accessed this stop using more than 15,000 passenger trips in 2018, averaging 300 trips per week. Route 10 McCain Mall carried more than 236,000 passenger trips in 2018.
This connection was made possible in part by the completion of the Fairfax Crossing railroad bridge at East McCain Boulevard, which was completed in December 2017 as part of a Metroplan at-grade railroad crossing improvement plan created in 1997.
“The Route 10-18 connection is all about linking public transit riders to opportunities and celebrating the vital role public transit plays in contributing to our area’s economic development and health,” said Frazier. “We’re appreciative of the advocates in our community who made today possible and look forward to working with our partners to make future improvements to the system.”