A look at IndyGo’s Red Line BRT

Indianapolis is a very car-centric city, but IndyGo is looking to change that. Over the years IndyGo’s bus service has been sporadic at best, plus limited funding from the State of Indiana made it difficult to increase services. These shortfalls at IndyGo along with an old fleet and bus shortages made them buy used buses from various transit systems to keep services running. The recent approvals by the Indiana General Assembly allows some Central Indiana counties to dedicate an income tax up to 0.25% for mass transit projects has given funding to allow IndyGo to build out beyond its core.

The first part of this project is the Red Line BRT, which opens on September 1, 2019. It travels 13 miles along one of the city’s busiest north to south corridors. The Red Line will run between Broad Ripple and the University of Indianapolis campus with a stops 28 stops along the route including the Julia M. Carson Transit Center, IUPUI and IU Methodist Health. The buses will travel on dedicated bus lanes and stop at specially designed stations with real-time arrival times along the route. With less frequent stops it’ll reduce the travel time by a third when compared to the popular 39 Meridian route. Basically, one can say its building a light rail system, but at half the cost. IndyGo’s Red Line will allow riders to purchase their fares at TVMs at each station and you can board the bus as you normally would. However, like many BRTs and light rail systems its an honors system, but who knows whether or not there will be fare inspectors to enforce proof of payment.

BYD is supplying the 20 electric buses for the Red Line. The BYD buses will have five doors, three on the right side and two on the left side, which will allow riders to enter with ease from the platforms. Frequency will be 10-15 minutes throughout the day, so you’ll never wait for too long for a bus to arrive.

Its hard to say whether this BRT will be succeed or not, as we have seen some BRTs fail due it not being faster than existing bus routes, traffic flow/signaling problems, fleet breakdowns, etc. (Taichung BRT didn’t last a year).

IndyGo plans to improve service and frequency over the next few years. This along with an additional two BRT lines, the Blue and Purple lines respectively by 2023 Indianapolis is hoping to have a relatively good/comprehensive transit system. While improving service IndyGo is hoping to fully transition to an all-electric bus fleet by 2032, so this is a start.

Will this new BRT line get people out of their cars and ride the buses to work, only time will tell.

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