Metroplan Study: Financial Commitment Key to Conway-LR Bus Service

by Lee Hogan  on Monday, Jul. 14, 2014 11:02 am  

A feasibility study released by Metroplan on an express bus service between Conway and Little Rock found that capital costs, funding sources and operating responsibility would be obstacles in the implementation of the route.

The study, prepared by Gresham Smith & Partners of Nashville, found the total capital cost would be between $1.2-$2.2 million. The start-up phase would cost between $635,000 and $1.3 million, and the build-out phase would incur another $600,000 to $900,000 in costs. Annual operation costs, including maintenance, would cost between $218,000 and $267,000 in the start-up phase and between $435,000 and $511,000 in the build-out phase.

More: View the entire study here (PDF)

The study, initiated by officials in Faulkner and Pulaski counties, found the bus service should be implemented through the two phases with the start-up phase lasting four years and the build-out phase after five years.

"The phasing approach to the service will depend on ridership trends, the extent to which the express bus service can be integrated into local transit routes, the overall performance and productivity of the service and the availability and productivity of the service and the availability of local capital and operating revenue sources.

The start-up phase would establish routes with 11 revenue vehicle hours that would require two vehicles to operate between 6-9 a.m. and 3:30-6:30 p.m. on weekdays at 60-minute frequencies.

The build-out phase would increase the bus frequency between Conway and downtown Little Rock to 30-minute frequencies as demand increases. Four vehicles would be required to complete the stops. During this phase, stops may also be added to a new interchange in Conway and the I-630 medical district.

The study's estimates show between 75 and 90 riders a day, or between 18,750 and 22,500 a year, would use the service during the start-up phase for an annual revenue between $90,156 and $136,000. During the build-out phase, the daily ridership would increase to 150 to 200 passengers, or 37,500 to 50,000 passengers a year, for an annual revenue between $180,313 and $303,000.

Based on survey results, a one-way fare would cost $3 for standard buses and $4 for motor coach buses. A monthly pass would be $50 for the standard buses and $60 for motor coach buses.

The Bus Route

The study considered two routes for the bus service. One route ran along I-40 from Conway into west Little Rock on I-430, and into downtown Little Rock on I-630. 

The alternative route, which was selected to have better balance between travel time and destinations, ran along I-40 from Conway into North Little Rock and downtown Little Rock on I-30. The route would run 32 miles and begin with stops in Conway at Skyline Drive and Dave Ward Drive exits on I-40. It would continue south on I-40 and onto I-30 and exit on West Broadway in North Little Rock. 



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