Metro Connect pilot program rivals ‘Uber’ for bus riders


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The future of public transit is getting tested out in Little Rock.

A pilot program called Metro Connect is working to make getting around parts of the city easier, faster and cheaper.

“I have been riding over about 20 years now,” Willie Oliver said on the bus.

Oliver knows his routes, and knows where he’s going.

But for a year, getting to Remington College required more than just the bus. He walked 2 and half miles.

A new pilot program through Rock Region Metro is changing his commute.

“I called, and they came and picked me up!”

It’s called Metro Connect and for the same price as bus fair — $1.35 a ride — you get door to door service.

“It’s worth more than a dollar 35, thank God that it is a dollar 35!” Oliver said.

“We are all trying to experiment with this right now,” Becca Green with Rock Region Metro said.

It’s paving the way for new technology and more convenience.

“We’re excited about it, it’s going well, we’re taking people to work, we’re taking people to health appointments, taking kids to school,” she said.

There are still limitations compared to companies like Uber and Lyft. The buses and even SUVs are only staying within the John Barrow Road zone, which now includes CARTI Cancer Center.

They only run Monday through Friday, and you don’t typically have your own private ride, but Oliver did today.

“I love this, I really really love this,” he said on his ride to Walmart.

For now Oliver’s walking is a just a few steps, and he’d like to keep it that way.

“If they don’t do nothing else, they done enough for me.”

If you’re riding within John Barrow or Route 9, you can download the app called TransLoc.

You’ll create an account, put in your location and destination and then click request ride.

Click here for more directions in the app.

Right now they said their average pick up time is within 9 minutes.

If you don’t have a smartphone, you can call Rock Region Metro dispatch at 501-476-3761.

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