Rock Region Metro is joining several other public transit organizations across the nation who hope to help voters on election day.
With candidates from all parties encouraging people to vote, residents of central Arkansas are being offered free bus rides on election day. A handful of cities in the U.S. have tried similar programs, but Jarod Varner, executive director Rock Region Metro, says this is the first time for such a service in central Arkansas.
“In order to alleviate any barriers that are out there, the fare is one of them. For many people, while our fare is only $1.35, that impacts how often they are able to travel. Our board decided that since so many people are going to use transit to get to the polls lets have a free fare day to allow people to go vote,” said Varner.
The free service is being offered only on established bus routes and does not apply to the streetcar or the paratransit vans. Varner said this initial service will be a test run to determine if free fares will be available for future elections. Increased ridership and anecdotal passenger feedback will be two of the factors measured on November 8.
Other cities offering free fare days include Tallahassee, Florida, Austin, Texas, and Asheville North Carolina.