Arkansas' Rock Region Metro launched a new streetcar sponsorship plan, aiming to bolster revenue to support its fare-free promotion for the streetcars and ongoing community economic development efforts.
“Our 2019 fare-free promotion is off to a great start with a 342 percent year-over-year increase, and we’re excited to continue that momentum by re-engaging our community with the streetcar,” said Charles D. Frazier, Rock Region METRO executive director. “To help us with that, we’re thrilled to have some initial sponsorships for the streetcar system, including the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau streetcar sponsorship and the Downtown Little Rock Partnership Friend of the Streetcar sponsorship. We’re looking forward to working with our area hospitality and business leaders to keep enhancing the tourism and economic development in the downtown area by re-investing in this one-of-a-kind asset.”
The plan includes five different sponsorship levels, including a System Sponsorship, a Station Sponsorship, a Streetcar Sponsorship, a Friend of the Streetcar Sponsorship and a monthly Event Sponsor. Sponsor benefits vary with the packages but can include annual naming rights, shelter and streetcar advertising, and mentions in the streetcar operator script.
The streetcar system sponsorship program will support the agency’s fare-free operation of the streetcar, which began Dec. 21, 2018 and will continue throughout this year. So far, the promotion has been a success, garnering the highest streetcar ridership numbers to date for January, a seasonally low-ridership month. In January, METRO Streetcar system carried 6,986 passenger trips, a 342 percent year over year increase for January.
“We are establishing a baseline of metrics for streetcar ridership during this fare-free promotion year to have the information we need to create a streetcar study and explore what next steps might emerge,” said Frazier.