Rock Region Metro Executive Director Jarod Varner on Friday announced his departure from the central Arkansas transit organization after four years of leading it. Aug. 18 will be his last day.
Varner is stepping down to take a regional leadership role with First Transit, an international transit operations, management and consulting firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He will remain in Little Rock and plans to advocate for transit investment and serve as a resource to Metro.
“With his leadership, we have accomplished impressive progress, and the organization is well positioned to continue improving the services we offer our communities," Metro Board Chairman Allie Freeman said in a news release. "While Jarod will certainly be missed, we wish he and his family well in his new endeavors, and the board will ensure the necessary plans are put in place to ensure a smooth transition.”
During Varner’s tenure, Metro:
- Engaged in a major strategic transit service plan;
- Adopted a new, modern brand and its first funding ballot initiative in more than a decade;
- launched its transition to a natural gas fleet, a new website and a real-time arrival information system;
- Added free WiFi top all buses and streetcars;
- Implemented a plan to expand and improve transit shelters;
- Established a comprehensive fare policy and related innovative programs;
- Earned its first-ever Federal Transit Administration Bus and Bus Facilities discretionary grant;
- Won the Southwest Transit Association First Place Spotlight Award for its website.