Ozark Regional Transit extending zero-fare program through next year

Northwest Arkansas News

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Northwest Arkansas residents will get to enjoy Ozark Regional Transit’s zero-fare program for another year as they announced it will be extended through 2022.

Zero-fare polies are known to bolster ridership where implemented and that was certainly the case in NWA during its launch in 2020.

The extension will hope to continue that trend.

According to a news release, ORT will also be increasing public outreach in a social media campaign aiming to familiarize the public with the transit system, as well as conduct an extensive bus stop study.

Inventory and analysis of all bus stops will be done to coordinate with local and municipal transportation staff. With this, ORT hopes to provide recommendations that would enhance the riders’ experience.

The public transit system in Bentonville will also be changed from a fixed-route system to a two-bus On-Demand Transit system, which mirrors Roger’s transit system.

Hours will also be extended to 80 per week for the two buses.

All of this is from support by the Walton Family Foundation in the form of a $985,608 grant.

ORT said in the release, “the ultimate goal for these initiatives in 2022 is to make public transit more available and more accessible, eliminate shortcomings, and to make mobility more efficient and effective.”

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