In partnership with Walmart, Rock Region METRO has created a temporary weekday Southwest Little Rock METRO Connect microtransit zone designed to get riders in the area to Walmart Store No. 124, the Baseline Walmart store, for COVID-19 vaccinations. The zone supplements existing transit service to the store provided by Routes 22 University Ave./Mabelvale and 23 Baseline/Southwest. In accordance with METRO’s announcement earlier this week, all rides scheduled within the temporary Southwest Little Rock microtransit vaccination zone will be free, as they are intended to take riders to and from a scheduled COVID-19 vaccination appointment. METRO is offering free rides to COVID-19 vaccinations March 8 through May 31, 2021, with a possible program extension later if feasible.
“Walmart Store 124 is a designated Arkansas Department of Health COVID-19 vaccination site and a trusted retailer among METRO riders. We are happy to innovate with our existing microtransit service to connect even more Southwest Little Rock residents with the Baseline Walmart pharmacy so they have barrier-free access to their COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Charles Frazier, METRO chief executive officer.
“Our goal is to help expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and we appreciate Rock Region METRO helping make getting vaccinated as convenient as possible,” said Michael Lindsey, public affairs director for Arkansas.
To schedule a ride Mondays-Fridays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., residents can call the special METRO Connect dispatch ride-booking number, 501-476-3761, for door-to-door service from any point within the zone to the Baseline Walmart. Riders may simply show their Connect drivers their appointment confirmation (an email or printed appointment paperwork is sufficient), and they will ride free on the day of their appointments. Although the mobile app used to book the METRO Connect service will display the temporary Southwest Little Rock COVID-19 vaccination zone, riders are asked to call 501-476-3761 to book their ride instead of using the app, as all rides within this zone must be approved by the METRO dispatch department before being booked; using the dial-in booking number will streamline this process. Rides may be booked several days in advance of the appointment or on demand; return trips can be booked the same way.
Find more information at rrmetro.org under the Services/METRO Connect subpage by selecting the Southwest Little Rock Vaccination Zone. Information on Route 22 University Ave./Mabelvale and 23 Baseline/Southwest may be found under the Services/Bus Maps and Schedules subpage. Riders are reminded to check for active service alerts, including ongoing COVID-19-response-related service alerts, at the top of rrmetro.org and under the Service Alerts menu of the free METROtrack mobile app.
Currently, state-approved COVID-19 vaccination sites are open to all people in the state COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Phase 1A and 1B.