LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Rock Region Metro wants the public's help on deciding the future of the public transit network.
“Now’s the chance that if you have an idea about transit and you have strong opinions about it, we really want to hear from you now,” Director of Public Engagement Becca Green said.
They’re kicking off a 6-month project called RIDE 2020. RIDE stands for Route Innovation Development and Evaluation.
“This is all an interactive display to get more information out of our riders and non-riders too,” Green said.
The project is being overseen by the San Diego-based transit planning firm Transportation Management and Design Inc.
It’s very important to Jeannie Burrus, the mother of a college student.
“I’m a single mom, and it’s my daughter and myself and we have one car,” Burrus said.
Her daughter relies on the Rock Region Metro Transit Network to get to school and work, but sometimes it’s not an option.
“It didn’t go far enough out west and she would have to get Uber rides,” Burrus said. “With her college I.D., she’s able to ride the Rock Region Metro free, which is a huge help. An average Uber ride was from six to eight dollars.”
She said that easily added up to nearly $40 a week.
At the meetings, people can write what they like and dislike about the service, and even mark where routes should go.
“For people that work out further west or they want to shop out west, I would think especially during the holidays when people don’t want to fight traffic and fight for a parking spot, it would be a very big thing,” Burrus said.
They’re re-imagining the transit network in central Arkansas for the first time in 33 years.
“What we want to do is make sure we are using tax payer dollars as efficiently as possible,” Green said.
She said public transit is something everyone should weigh in on because you’ll never know when you’ll need it.
In May, the team will share plan recommendations based on information they’ve gathered.
“Our generations are getting older and people are wanting to try and stay in their homes and what not," Green said. "They really need to take a look at: 'Do they have a transit network near their home? Can they get around easily if they lose their mobility? Can you afford in your retirement, for example, to pay for an Uber everyday for every errand you need to run?'”
There will be two more meetings on Thursday:
Southwest Little Rock
Thursday, Jan. 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Central Arkansas Library System Dee Brown Branch, 6325 Baseline Rd., Little Rock
West Little Rock
Thursday, Jan. 23, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Noah’s Event Center, 21 Rahling Circle, Little Rock