Rock Region Metro to Launch Metro Connect Conway Microtransit Service

Beginning October 24, Rock Region METRO, on behalf of the City of Conway, Ark., will launch the METRO Connect Conway public microtransit service area.

The service, which will operate Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., is the first modern transit service offered in Conway. The Rock Region METRO Connect Conway service offers on-demand point-to-point rides around the city with an easy-to-use ride booking interface, real-time vehicle information, reasonable wait and ride times, and affordable rates.

“After a lot of hard work and planning, we are thrilled to bring this service to Conway residents,” said Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry. “Using the microtransit service, which is a relatively inexpensive public transit service, allows us to maximize federal funding to improve mobility options for all of our residents, helping them connect to health, education opportunities, jobs and more.”

Rock Region METRO Connect Conway offers shared rides throughout the planned service area, which covers most areas within Conway’s city limits and was designed with input from city staff; various data sources and metrics, such as traffic analysis zones, population density, employment density, and land use zones; and feedback from local health, education, employment and social service representatives. Rock Region METRO’s professional transportation planning firm, Foursquare ITP, led the service planning task for the agency.

The service will operate with two vehicles in circulation during service hours, supported by a dedicated supervisor and dispatcher and multiple drivers, as well as Rock Region METRO operations, customer service, maintenance, accounting, public engagement, human resources, security, information technology. and legal teams. The service is designed to accommodate up to 100 passenger trips per day and can be adjusted as demand changes.

The initial service vehicles are 2022 Lonestar Promaster 3500s which are low floor accessible transit vehicles. The vans are equipped with manual folding wheelchair ramps and can accommodate up to seven passengers. Once launched, METRO Connect Conway rides can be booked using a smartphone app, the free Transloc Microtransit app, or a dial-in phone number. METRO Connect Conway fares are $2 per person per ride and can be paid through the free Token Transit app or exact change.

Rock Region METRO has operated a microtransit service for over three years, beginning with the Little Rock METRO Connect John Barrow Road area in August 2019. The service engages a somewhat familiar carpool and rideshare service similar but not the same as those operated by transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft. Unlike TNCs, the public microtransit service offers shared rides, a dedicated fleet, and predictable fares. The service, which is ideal for areas of emerging or low-density transit demand, offers greater coverage than fixed-route bus service and is more immediate and responsive than traditional call-in service. à la carte.

Conway has exceeded a population of 50,000 in recent years, spawning the creation of its own urbanized area as determined by the U.S. Census; this change made the city eligible for federal transit funding. In February 2018, the Conway City Council approved a resolution that named Rock Region METRO the direct recipient of its Federal Transit Administration urbanized area formula program funds, referred to as Funds 5307. Through this agreement, Rock Region METRO operates transit in the city using funds that remain with METRO, but are earmarked for Conway’s transit service and transit-focused projects. The partnership leverages Rock Region METRO’s experience as the state’s largest transit agency and enables Conway to launch a new mobility-focused public service for its residents and guests.

“We are excited to launch Conway’s transit service and help the city meet the needs of its growing population. This microtransit service launch not only complements Conway’s green initiatives, but also lays the foundation for the region’s multimodal connectivity needs,” said Rock Region METRO CEO Justin Avery.

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