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story.lead_photo.caption In this file photo passengers wait for their Rock Region Metro bus at the River Cities Travel Center in downtown Little Rock. - Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Rock Region Metro will hold four public meetings Wednesday and Thursday as part of an in-depth study to identify potential ways to improve the Pulaski County transit system.

The meetings will introduce the six-month project and collect information from citizens and riders about mobility needs in Central Arkansas, according to a news release.

Rock Region has contracted with a San Diego transit planning firm, Transportation Management & Design Inc., to oversee the project, which is called RIDE 2020 -- Route Innovation, Development and Evaluation.

The firm, which will be paid up to $300,000 for the project, will use the meetings to review the scope of the project and collect information from citizens and riders about the transportation needs for Central Arkansas, the news release said.

"We want to hear from community leaders, residents and riders regarding where they think transit service is needed and how often they would like service to operate," said Charles Frazier, the agency's executive director. "We also look forward to sharing what we have learned so far regarding an initial service analysis, a peer system analysis and a funding structure analysis."

The aim of the project is to "re-imagine" Rock Region's regular bus routes, which haven't undergone a significant change in 33 years.

The final plan could include recommendations to discontinue some routes or types of services or add to parts of the service area, which is why Frazier said, "We want to ensure transit riders, business owners, residents and other stakeholders have opportunities to share their ideas in advance of plan development."

The project will include identifying short- and long-range operational and capital finance plans, determining effective ways to increase ridership and revenue while addressing the region's transportation needs and conducting a "data-driven evaluation of existing service and performance, market conditions, consumer expectations and future financial opportunities and transit needs."

The consulting firm will conduct a poll on transit within Pulaski County and other Central Arkansas municipalities soon as part of the project.

"The outcome will be a ridership-focused new network design," according to the news release.

Two meetings will be held on Wednesday:

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Darragh Center in the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System at t 100 S. Rock St. in Little Rock.

• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Laman Library at 2801 Orange St. in North Little Rock.

Two more meetings will be held Thursday:

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dee Brown branch of the Central Arkansas Library System at 6325 Baseline Road in Little Rock.

• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Noah's Event Center at 21 Rahling Circle in Little Rock.

Metro on 01/21/2020

Print Headline: 4 Pulaski County meetings seek transit system ideas

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