Rock Region Metro’s CEO to step down in December

Nov. 15, 2021
Charles Frazier is leaving the agency to take a leadership role at an un-named transportation authority.

Rock Region Metro leaders in Little Rock, Ark., lauded outgoing CEO Charles D. Frazier, who will be leaving the agency Dec. 10. Frazier will be moving to a “leading innovative transportation authority” in an executive leadership position.

Frazier came to Rock Region Metro in 2018 from Palm Tran in Palm Beach County, Fla. His time at Rock Region Metro has been marked with several successes such as an eight percent increase in pre-pandemic system ridership, the implementation of the METRO Pool jobs-access vanpool program and the METRO Connect on-demand microtransit service. He also helped lead the successful transition to a fare-free streetcar service and the development of the agency’s first Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan. Additionally, Frazier is credited with establishing innovative community partnerships, such as the Transportation Alliance Project program in partnership with the Arkansas Homeless Coalition, the Central Arkansas Library System Rides to Reads program and the fare-free Be Mighty Little Rock summer meal access program for youths.

The agency also credits Frazier with the implementation of the agency’s first mobile fare payment app; completing the first phase of the downtown Little Rock transit station’s transit-oriented development project; establishing the agency’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and New Ambassadors employee recognition program; and successfully negotiating the 2018 collective bargaining agreement between Rock Region Metro and its operator and maintenance union, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 704.

“This is really bittersweet for me,” said Little Rock City Manager and Rock Region Metro Board Member Bruce Moore. “While I am very happy for Charles as he starts the next chapter of his life, his departure is a huge loss for public transportation in our region. I have enjoyed working with Charles and am very thankful for his adept stewardship of our capital city metro public transit system. Through his leadership, Metro has been able to offer new and different affordable transportation to more Arkansans and guests, while providing development opportunities to our essential public workers.”

“I am so thankful to the Metro Board of Directors and our funding partners for providing me the opportunity to lead the Rock Region Metro team, and I would be remiss if I did not thank the central Arkansas community for making me so welcome during my time here. My family and I love Arkansas – the friendliness of the people and its natural outdoor beauty simply cannot be beat. It has been an honor working with such an excellent leadership team and hard-working staff, and I’m proud of what we have achieved together,” said Frazier.

Other recent achievements under Frazier’s leadership have included securing two Federal Transit Administration (FTA) competitive grant awards, including the largest FTA competitive grant in Rock Region Metro’s history, a $4.9 million low-no emissions grant to fund up to five battery-electric buses and charging infrastructure and a COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant to test portable ultraviolet-C light disinfectant systems, as well as establishing a partnership to implement three major COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the downtown Little Rock transit station.

Perhaps the most notable accomplishment of Frazier’s administration is the completion of the first phase of the agency’s R.I.D.E. – Route Innovation, Development and Evaluation – 2020 comprehensive operational analysis. The R.I.D.E. 2020 plan made possible a change to the agency’s original funding formula that has allowed it to expand transit service as METRO emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. The plan allows METRO to expand its transit service footprint beyond Pulaski County for the first time in the agency’s history with the pending METRO Connect Conway on-demand microtransit service and expands the agency’s fixed route, on-demand and paratransit service within Little Rock and North Little Rock.

Frazier is a 2018 graduate of the American Public Transportation Association Leadership APTA program and serves on the board of directors for the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership and Metroplan and was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force to make recommendations for the state’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19.

About the Author

Mass Transit Staff Report

Stories under this byline were produced through a team effort by the editorial staff of Mass Transit. 

To learn more about our team, click here

If you have a story idea, let us know by emailing [email protected]. Please review our contributor guidelines found here