Jarod Varner resigning as head of Rock Region Metro | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jarod Varner resigning as head of Rock Region Metro

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 2:39 PM

click to enlarge JAROD VARNER: Departing bus company.
  • JAROD VARNER: Departing bus company.
Jarod Varner, executive director of Rock Region Metro, the local bus/streetcar organization, is resigning effective Aug. 18 to take a regional vice president's job with a national transportation firm.

He'll continue to live in North Little Rock as a regional vice president for Cincinnati-based First Transit. It works in several southern states, including Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama. The company, a subsidiary of a global firm based in the United Kingdom, has clients in, among others, Hot Springs, El Paso and Memphis.

Varner has been a strong advocate for a greater role for transit in the community and notably spoke out strongly for more consideration of transit in recent freeway expansion planning in the city as the lone vote on the Metroplan board against the 30 Crossing expansion project as envisioned. He had one great disappointment in his tenure, the election defeat of a dedicated tax for the transit operation, now dependent on appropriations from local governments, the largest contributor being the city of Little Rock.

But the organization advanced, with new equipment (including the move to a gas-powered fleet), new systems to track bus arrivals with phone apps, better signage and a variety of promotional efforts.

"We made a lot of progress in four years," he said. He said he planned to continue to be an advocate for greater support of transit in the Little Rock area. "Central Arkansas deserves it." He said the new job was a "great opportunity" to have a "broader based impact in the industry."

The board of Rock Region Metro, formerly known as Central Arkansas Transit, will decide soon on an interim leader and the process for choosing a new director.

Varner, 36, is a Texas native who's worked a dozen years in transit after education at Harding and North Texas State.

Here's the full Rock Region release. Not a bad list of accomplishments for a dynamic director.

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