Central Arkansas Transit Authority is announcing a new customer-based initiative to install wireless internet on its fleet of buses.
During the pilot period, wi-fi equipment will be installed on the West Markham and McCain routes (numbers 5 and 10), which travel through parts of midtown as well as North Little Rock. The trial will begin Nov. 1 and last through Nov. 30, when rider usage will be assessed. If successful, appropriate hardware will be supplied on all 26 routes.
According to CATA Executive Director Jarod Varner, this step is part of a larger measure to increase ridership and customer satisfaction. Varner, who succeeded former director Betty Wineland after her retirement earlier this year, said the organization is also taking steps to increase safety and convenience for long-time patrons through real-time data and mapping changes.
"Historically, CATA has only made service modifications once every few years," Varner said. "We're going to get an annual service-modification process that will allow us to engage the public and allow the public to tell us where the service routes need to go."
In addition to this transition, the wireless services provision will be included in an application for a multi-million dollar grant given by Metroplan, a local organization used to assess transportation needs based on consumer responses.