Rock Region METRO launches 13 modified bus routes and removes one bus route Monday, Oct. 31 as the result of a seven-month planning process for 2016 service enhancements. In addition, METRO Streetcar service will be adjusted to start and end one hour later on Sundays, with the first effective date on Sunday, Nov. 6. A new stop policy that requires riders to board and alight at transit stop signs will take effect Oct. 31 as well.
Several materials are being prepped for the project’s implementation, which begins Sunday, Oct. 30 as operating hours on each route cease. A new bus service map will be available Monday, Oct. 31, preceded by new schedule brochures for each modified route, which include Route 4 Levy/Amboy (North Little Rock), Route 8 Rodney Parham (Little Rock), Route 9 West Central/John Barrow Road (Little Rock), Route 11 Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Drive (Little Rock), the soon-to-be-renamed Route 12 Clinton Center/Airport (Little Rock), Route 14 Rosedale (Little Rock), Route 16 UALR (Little Rock), Route 17 Mabelvale/Downtown (Little Rock), Route 18 McAlmont (North Little Rock), the soon-to-be-renamed Route 20 Hanger Hill/College Station (Little Rock), the soon-to-be-renamed Route 21 Riverdale (Little Rock), the soon-to-be-renamed Route 22 University Avenue/Mabelvale (Little Rock) and Route 23 Baseline/Southwest (Little Rock). Route 15 65th Street will be removed, with service provided to productive Route 15 stops through Routes 11, 22 and 23. As part of the project, Routes 6 Granite Mountain and 26 Maumelle/Oak Grove Express will receive minor schedule adjustments and new schedule brochures. Route 6 Granite Mountain’s schedule will be adjusted to improve the overall schedule, with no time added or removed from the route run time. The two morning buses from Maumelle to downtown Little Rock will leave 10 minutes earlier to accommodate more transfer opportunities to other routes. New bus stop signs will be installed and covered with bags the week of Oct. 24. Bus stop signs that will no longer be used with the new route system will be covered the evening of Sunday, Oct. 30 and removed the week of Oct. 31. Technology updates are underway to have new map and schedule information available via Google Transit and rrmetro.org Monday, Oct. 31.
Although there are no expected delays to the implementation date at this time, the agency is cautioning riders and interested citizens that a delay is possible and encourages riders to follow progress by checking rrmetro.org/news for updates, signing up for the Rock Region METRO enewsletter at the link at the bottom of this page, following the agency’s social media pages (Facebook.com/rrmetro, Twitter.com/rrmetro) and downloading the free METROtrack app from the Google Play or App Store to receive related alerts. Information will be posted online, in enewsletters and on buses and sent to riders via METROtrack service alerts. During the weeks of Oct. 24 and 31, the agency plans to station volunteers at key stops that will be experiencing higher degrees of change and volumes of riders to assist riders with the transition.
“Even though we do not yet have a dedicated funding source for central Arkansas’ public transit system that would allow us to make major service improvements, we are excited about the unprecedented number of minor service improvements we are able to offer our riders on Oct. 31,” said Jarod Varner, METRO executive director. “The changes include more service along major corridors, more direct access to major shopping and recreational centers and more transfer opportunities among routes. They are designed with our riders’ convenience and customer experience in mind, and we hope they inspire more investment in our public transit system that will pave the way for major service improvements.”
A summary of approved service enhancements can be found on the Rock Region METRO website at rrmetro.org/annual-service-enhancements.