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

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

Then, the bus service would continue on West Broadway, turn south on Maple Street, cross the Main Street Bridge into Little Rock, turn left onto Fourth Street and make a stop at the River Cities Travel Center. Then, the bus would leave, turn right onto Scott Street, then left onto Third Street and travel to the state Capitol. The bus service would then travel across the Broadway bridge to a stop on Main Street in North Little Rock before traveling north on I-30 and I-40 to its original two stops in Conway. 

The study said existing Central Arkansas Transit Authority bus routs would serve as feeder bus routes for the express bus service at the stops in North Little Rock, the River Cities Travel Center and the state Capitol.

A reverse commute from Little Rock or North Little Rock to Conway is not feasible at the time, due to Conway's lack of a local transit, the study says. 

The study area encompasses a total population of 305,000 and 234,450 jobs, according to data from 2010. 

The bus service would target "choice riders." It's different from traditional local bus services in that the express service limits pick-ups and drop-offs and transports passengers from an origination point, possibly a park-and-ride lot, to a major destination point. 

Funding the Service

Funding for the bus service could be jumpstarted with money from capital programs during the start-up phase, but over time, local and regional sources will need to step up. 

The study examined three management scenarios — private operator, joint agency from Conway and Faulkner County, and CATA — for the bus service. The first question that must be addressed is whether CATA or Conway and Faulkner County will become the project sponsor and assume the responsibility for the service, or if a private transportation company would operate the service based on service revenues.

If the service is not to be implemented from private funds, the acceptance of publicly subsidized service using federal transit funds is possible. 

"If so, then other local or state resources must be determined," the study says. "In summary, the cost of the express bus service will not pay for itself through farebox revenues, thus, the implementation of the service will be dependent on local, state and federal subsides, and the willingness of the project sponsor and/or partnering organizations to pursue funding for the new transit service."



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