IndyGo’s Proposed Short Term Changes

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m tired of talking long-term.  For transit plans, it basically seems to be a code word for “probably never.”   So it was quite a pleasant surprise that IndyGo can actually implement some system enhancements in the next 3 years without a need for improving their funding situation.  Unfortunately, these enhancements also come at the expense of yet more service reductions in the system.

Curt Ailes sent me the link to the host page of IndyGo’s Proposed System changes, which is separated in to two parts: Part I, and Part II (large PDF warning).   There is a lot of information on the host page if you really want to dig deep, but I’ll stick with covering the changes that could be coming in the near future if IndyGo isn’t able to garner more funding.  According to this link (PDF warning), short term in this case means “1-3 years.  The plan examines options to enhance the ridership levels achieved from existing resources.”  The Short Term Plan is explained further on page 15 of this document.  The map is shown below:


On to the summary of the plan.  I always like to start with the bad news first, so here goes:

Reduction in services

  • Most of the reductions in service occur along what IndyGo is now branding as supporting local bus services.
  • Routes 2, 4, 14, 21, 22, 24, 25, and 26 will run only every 60 minutes (!) and end at 7:00 pm (double !).  They will all also begin their routes later in the morning.  Weekend service will be eliminated for Routes 4 and 24.  Routes 21 and 25 will actually add Sunday service (though at a measly 2 hour interval).
  • Routes 2, 4, 10, 11, 21, 22, 26, 28, 31, 37, and 87 will shorten or simplify their routes.
  • Routes 12,  and 16 will also only run every 60 minutes but will keep the same starting and ending times.  Route 16 will eliminate weekend service.
  • Route 19 will begin service slightly later and end it slightly earlier.
  • Route 30 will go to a standard 30/60 schedule, but add weekend hourly service.
  • Route 50 (AKA Red Line) will only run every half an hour on evenings, and drop its Saturday service.
  • Route 55 will start one hour later.

Small changes to note:

  • Route 34 will add a Sunday hourly service.
  • Route 37 will have less frequent Saturday buses, but the Sunday buses will run hourly instead of every two hours.

Route enhancements:

  • Now the fun part begins.  Unlike the last round of bad news from IndyGo where pretty much all we received were cuts, they are focusing their energy on improving key arterial corridor bus services.
  • Route 8 will run every 15 minutes all day long, and every half an hour in the evening.
  • Route 10 will also run every 15 minutes during the day, but keep its hourly evening interval.
  • Route 18 will feature the improvement that I’m most excited about (since I stand to benefit from it), and that is to move the route away from Meridian, Penn, and Central.  The route will now be located more logically along College Avenue, which is (hopefully) a simple way to bring back the 15-minute headways that were previously lost.
  • Route 19 will run along North Keystone instead of Allisonville Road.  It’s a decent idea to give Keystone more buses, but the route is still too meandering IMO.
  • Routes 28 and 37 will become more direct.
  • Route 39 will run every 15 minutes during the day and every 10 minutes at peak.  10 minutes is unheard of in this system, so this is a big deal.


It’s awful that so much has to be cut in order to enhance the most popular routes.  60 minute headways that end at 7 pm are inexcusable, and this will happen along 8 of IndyGo’s routes.  However, it shows just how dire the funding situation is for the struggling transit system.   Hopefully they can secure more funding in order to enact their more optimistic medium and long term plans. Otherwise, the best IndyGo can do is cut their losses and focus on a few major corridors.

Comments 10

  • Fantastic coverage dude. I had honestly never sat down with the document and hashed it all out like you did. When you put it in the terms that you did in the post, it really shows where the priorities have been focused. For the potential situation facing IndyGo, honestly, I see this as a good plan. IndyGo recognizes that the bulk of their ridership comes from these key arterials. If they are going to maintain boardings, it only makes sense to increase service on these corridors. By reducing service on the others, they still fullfill their mandated mission of providing coverage… although we all know it is laughable. Lets hope that some sort of funding is secured and we can look forward to better headways on ALL routes and that 60 minute headways on the majority of routes, is not a coming reality.

  • 15 minute headways on key arterials is amazingly good. I am happy with this plan, and I am happy that they are readjusting their priorities to provide frequent transit corridors in some locations. I know the changes in service to some of the areas will be difficult, but I think that IndyGo is doing the best they can with the resources that Indianapolis has given them.

  • That’s probably the right way to go. This approaches legitimately good service in the most dense parts of the city. The service on supporting routes becomes crappier, but it was already crappy.

    In the last year I moved from a part of Irvington served by the 10 (currently 30 minute headways) to an area served by the 3 and the 8 (15 minute headways on the 8 during rush hour). The difference is dramatic. If I missed the #10, more often than not I would say “screw it” and would drive in. If I miss the #8, I walk down the street for a quick cup of coffee and catch the next one. Fifteen isn’t as good as 5 or 10, but it is dramatically better than 30. I still wish they would provide a public interface for the GPS data that already exists.

    Still, after complimenting IndyGo, I do have to provide my disturbing/odd IndyGo anecdote of the day. A passenger got on the #8 bus. He was carrying a can of Arizona ice tea, and he appeared to be making a move toward throwing the can into the litter bag at the front of the bus. The driver said something to her, he looked at her quizzically, and then turned around and chucked the can onto the sidewalk. Sigh.

  • That is weird John. Ill never get some people…..
    As far as GPS stuff goes, they are inline for a capital expenditure in 2013 for what I think was called, “IT Upgrades”. Basically, the data that they use to track buses now is useable. But they dont have the means of erecting a firewalk to protect intrusion. It becomes a money issue at that point for them. It is too far off IMO, but at least they have it on the books.

  • Yes. Thank you for breaking this down. And I feel your frustration with long-term plans. I’ll be well into my fifties before we can get light rail? Not good enough. Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t the basis for the inter-urban take approx. seven (7) years to build 100 years ago?
    I see these route reductions and particular corridor enhancements as a necessary evil (for lack of a better term). It shows that IndyGo is taking a realistic approach to bettering their system from the ground up. In the cities that I have researched, mainly Sacramento, Portland and Dallas, they had to do the same thing. Dallas embarked on a six year bus stop enhancement campaign back in the late 1980’s and their ridership increased by 10 million over the course of their work. While that may not be attributable entirely to those improvements, they also had to prioritize certain routes to better their system. By taking a quick step back and focusing on the routes people actually use they are supporting the people who support them. On the plus side of tightening their belt along poorly used routes- maybe people will become more vocal and demand that their limited routes be enhanced as well. I see this as ruffling a few feathers at a time when they are cash strapped.
    Moreover, I spoke with someone at the Community Transportation Assoc. of America Expo that was here this month who said that they (in their city) where able to link funding for health care initiatives with funding for public transit, as they are obviously interconnected. Indianapolis, with it’s comprehensive health care community might be able to link that funding to our transit network for the implementation of short term goals which simultaneously enhance our public transit options while affording us healthier lifestyles…

    • The major reason I didn’t mind breaking this down? Every page has a route map on it. I think if it were all text I probably wouldn’t have been so vigilant. Such is my love for maps.

      Good point about the funding for health initiatives. We should definitely be looking in to that.

  • Something that makes me wonder, how will IndyGo get away with offering commuter services to Fishers & Carmel under the IndyGo name? I know that they did it before, but that used CMAQ funding which is a different source of revenue. Right now, IndyGo isnt allowed to travel outside of Marion County. Do these routes assume some sort of contribution from Hamilton County? Or is it a nod to them to provide the services?
    Additionally, there is a good section talking about the location of a downtown transfer station to replace where all the locations drop off around Ohio Street. It mentions the post office south of Union Station as a possible location due to its proximity to union station. However, it also suggests that the post office is a bad location from an operational cost basis as well as a geographic location to the traditional job centers. It recommends a more centrally located transit center that would likely be done with a commercial development. I found that to be of significant mention. Makes me think places like the old Market Square lot would make a prime location (geographically) to serve job centers. Getting there might be difficult, but knowing what the report suggests, it is fun to think about where the optimum location for a transfer center might be located.

  • No pain – no gain, (and I am speaking from a personal pain because I do ride #4). In order for transit to be taken seriously and for Indianapolis to even hope for a viable transit system, we must take a couple steps back before we can move forward. I am hopeful that by focusing on and enhancing the arterial routes, IndyGo will finally have an opportunity to prove that they are more than capable of providing a great service. The IndyGo Team, led by Mike Terry, has and is doing a phenomenally “thoughtful & creative” job trying to service this city on less than a shoestring! They have been given very little credit for their hard work and effort. I applaud them for thinking “outside” the box. We all know they will get nothing but grief from those who know very little about how the system works. We absolutely must support this.

    Thanks you guys for getting the word out! You too do an awesome job!

  • Taking 19 off Penn/Delaware (to make up for removing 18 from Meridian) means there will be worse service to the heart of Old Northside, Fall Creek Place, Mapleton Fall Creek.

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