Today’s chill in the air tells us that the seasons are shifting, and soon Indianapolis will be in the midst of another winter. The winter season also brings about a tougher experience for Indy’s transit riders. Â Poor route frequency, inadequate sidewalks, and few shelters all combine to make transit riding more difficult in the winter months. Â Curt Ailes will soon have a post on some of the upcoming specific changes in these areas, but I thought I would talk about some of the positives of bus riding in the winter. Â The first three are geared towards people who already travel by car, but the others are more general:
- No car windshield ice scraping or brushing.
- No driving on treacherous or traffic-bound roads.
- No worries about parking the car in a snow bank to visit shops or friends.
- A communal experience for the riders. Â At the more popular stops, riders are generally not alone. Â I’ve noticed an increase of conversations during the winter months. Â Even the smallest chit chat in a public space can help a person feel more connected with their fellow residents.
- Being outside in winter can actually be refreshing. Â The farther north a city is, the more likely it is that the residents are willing to actually embrace winter weather. Â Indy tends to hunker down and wish it were over. Â Bus riders don’t have that luxury, but I think of that as a positive in general.
I’m glad to see that IndyGo is going to be increasing frequencyÂ and adding a new route. Â Much more can be done on this, but it is a good start.
The new shelters around town are attractive, and we could use a lot more of them, although I’m skeptical that they provide sufficient cover in the winter:
Lastly, the city has so many needs for sidewalks and pathways that it is almost difficult to know where to start, but we are getting started on that as well:
I would like it to be as easy and welcoming as possible to share in the experience of winter-time bus riding. Â Hopefully these improvements and others will start to help in that process.