Rock Region Metro Considering Fare Increases

Aug 1, 2016

Rock Region Metro buses in downtown Little Rock.
Credit David Monteith / KUAR

The cost of a bus ride in central Arkansas is under review after voters denied a quarter-penny tax increase to Rock Region Metro earlier this year.

A policy, which will outline if and when to consider fare increases, as well as more clearly defining who qualifies for discounted passes, will be proposed to the board of directors in the coming months.

Becca Green, director of public engagement for the transit system, says no specific fare increases have been proposed yet.

“If we do have a need to increase fares in the future we will have a process in place on how we share that information with the public, how they can make comments and be a part of that process,” Green says.

The transit system was denied a quarter-penny tax increase by Pulaski County voters despite endorsements from elected officials and industry leaders in both Little Rock and North Little Rock. Without the dedicated funding stream which the tax increase would have provided, the number of residents and visitors using public transit is not likely to increase significantly.

“It’s sort of a Catch 22,” Green says, “without the funding you can’t bring transformative major service improvements, which then generates ridership, so we’re stuck trying to do as much as we can to improve the system, but they’re still, overall, minor improvements.”

Rock Region Metro won grants which allowed for a new app for mobile phones, and new bus shelters to be built in the past several months.