Little Rock — Ahead of Schedule
Rail Transit Online, April 2004
Construction of the 2.5-mi. (4 km) River Rail streetcar
project connecting the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock is
several weeks ahead of schedule. According to Central Arkansas Transit
Authority Executive Director Keith Jones, revenue service could begin
sometime in September, well ahead of the planned opening in late October or
early November. “The contractor is really making headway,” Jones told
Arkansas Business. Meanwhile, a tentative operating schedule has been
released: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.
to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Headways will probably average 10 to 15 minutes.
However, the timetable won’t be finalized until a series of public meetings
have been held. “How late the trolley runs depends on businesses and how
late they stay open and how they promote (the trolley),” Jones told Arkansas
Business. “Whatever they do, the streetcar will be there.” Fares are
expected to be 25 cents on weekdays and 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for
children on weekends, with all three cars running Saturday and Sunday.
Annual operating costs are estimated at $438,150, offset by fare revenues
of $79,250 from around 195,000 passengers. Several route variations are
being considered, including operating a loop in each city and assigning one
car to run a through service. Another alternative is to have all cars cover
the entire line. Expansion of the $19.5-million project is in the advanced
planning stage and includes a $7.6-million, quarter-mile (0.4 km) extension
to within two blocks of the Bill Clinton presidential library that could be
completed in late 2005 and the purchase of two more trolleys from Gomaco
sometime next year.