|Founded||January 7, 1975|
|Headquarters||1501 West Washington Street|
Indianapolis, Indiana 46222
|Service area||Indianapolis–Marion County, Indiana|
|Service type||bus service, paratransit, bus rapid transit|
|Routes||30 (29 fixed routes, 1 BRT)|
|Hubs||Julia M. Carson Transit Center|
|Annual ridership||9,245,048 (FY 2019)|
|Fuel type||Diesel and Diesel-Electric Hybrid|
|Operator||City of Indianapolis|
|Chief executive||Inez Evans|
The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, branded as IndyGo, is a municipal corporation of the City of Indianapolis in the U.S. state of Indiana. IndyGo has managed and operated the city's public bus transit system since 1975.
IndyGo's history begins in 1953 when the city's streetcar system was converted to bus routes, most of which followed the same routes as used by the streetcars. The city of Indianapolis took over public transportation in 1975 and established the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation to administer bus services. The corporation originally operated buses under the name Metro Bus; the IndyGo name was adopted in 1996. Portions of the system were briefly privatized in the 1990s, but the move proved unpopular, and all operations were ultimately taken over by the city.
IndyGo has seen a near-constant trend of decreasing ridership since the 1970s and continues to explore options for revitalization. "Express" bus routes were used in the 1980s as an attempt to gain more middle-class riders from outlying areas, but the routes were largely discontinued by the early 2000s. In the fall of 2007, IndyGo resumed express routes, including one to Indianapolis International Airport.
Indy Connect is a $1.2 billion plan to create a network of bus rapid transit lines, bikeways, and walkways. The first segment to be constructed is phase one of the Red Line, traveling 14 miles (23 km) from Broad Ripple Avenue to the University of Indianapolis. Construction along the route began in June 2018 and the route opened on September 1, 2019.
In February 2020, the corporation announced it would be cancelling an order for five battery powered coaches for Route 39 along East 38th Street due to reliability issues with the BYD vehicles. IndyGo stated in a press release that the company had not met its contract which required the buses to cover 275 miles (443 km) until recharging, nor did it provide a permanent enroute re-charging solution. The existing BYD vehicles have been moved to the Red Line, requiring a new $7.5 million contract for 13 40-foot (12 m) Gillig diesel vehicles for Route 39.
In March 2020, the Indiana General Assembly debated a 10% public funding cut for IndyGo, after lawmakers claimed that the corporation was not engaging with 2015 legislation which required it seek up to 10% of their budget through private funding. Legislators have proposed withholding income tax money and preventing expansion routes until IndyGo meets its 10% funding goal. However, IndyGo CEO Inez Evans responded that the corporation had been unable to officially meet the target due to delays in establishing its foundation, which recently received $35,000 in private investment, and stated that public funding cuts could jeopardize its transit plans.
In April 2020, IndyGo announced it was postponing system-wide route changes as part of the Marion County Transit Plan implementation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes would have switched the current hub-and-spoke system to a grid network that would allow for easier transfers across the city.
In August 2020, IndyGo initiated a "bus stop balancing" project to eliminate or consolidate 524 redundant or low-boarding bus stops and create 45 new bus stops. The effort is expected to expedite service on high-ridership routes.
Main article: Julia M. Carson Transit Center
The Julia M. Carson Transit Center at 201 E. Washington Street serves routes that transit downtown Indianapolis. Ground was broken for the $26.5 million facility in September 2014. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on June 21, 2016, with formal bus service beginning on June 26, 2016. In addition to IndyGo's Customer Service Retail Center, the 14,000-square-foot (1,300.64 m2) center includes free Wi-Fi, public restrooms, a conference room, administrative offices, bus operator lounge, seating, real-time arrival and departure information, 19 bus bays, and 700 square feet (65.03 m2) of retail space. Of IndyGo's 31 routes, 26 routes offer transfers at the station.
The transit center is named for Julia Carson, former U.S. Representative for Indiana's 7th congressional district (1997–2007). During her tenure in Congress, Carson helped secure federal funding for the $26.5 million transit center.
IndyGo operates 31 fixed routes with some nearly 3,400 stops; bus frequency varies on the population density along the route. The system carries approximately 10.2 million passengers annually, traveling a total distance of about 9 million miles. While IndyGo provides bus service primarily in Indianapolis, certain IndyGo fixed routes extend south of the city into Johnson County.
The Blue Line downtown circulator route was added in 2005 to attract passengers and saw considerable ridership. In late 2006, IndyGo complemented the Blue Line with the introduction of the Red Line, which runs between Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and downtown, with 15-minute frequency. The Blue Line's ridership declined as federal funding allotted for the route ran out, and the route was discontinued after December 31, 2007. The Red Line remained a free route until January 2009, at which time it became a regularly priced route. The Red Line was retired when the Downtown Transit Center opened, with IUPUI service being covered by Routes 3, 10, and 37, along with 15-minute frequency on Michigan St. and New York St.
In the fall of 2007, IndyGo introduced an express route operated by a contractor, using ADA-accessible MCI J4500 motor coaches. The route runs from downtown to the northern suburb of Fishers in Hamilton County, the most populous suburban county of Indianapolis. In March 2008, an additional express route to Carmel (also in Hamilton County) was launched, followed in March 2009 by express service to Greenwood, a southern suburb in Johnson County. These ICE Express Routes to Greenwood, Fishers, and Carmel were discontinued in 2010 after their federal grants expired.
The standard fleet of the Indianapolis Transit System consisted mostly of dark orange/silverside GM Old Look and GM New Look buses; the latter 40-foot coaches were air-conditioned. When it became the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (adopting the Metro name) in 1975, the New Looks became the workhorse of the fleet, with the agency later adding AM General, GM RTS-II series, GMDD Canada New Look, and Orion I buses to the lineup as the New Looks wore out by the mid-1990s. These buses were painted white with brown-gold-brown stripes and the "Metro" name next to the exit door (except for the Canadian New Looks, which sported a bold black top around its windows) up until the change to the IndyGo branding in 1997.
By 1986, the buses had three greenish-blue stripes immediately below the windows and the word "Metro" near the front door. From 1997 to 2010, the Phantoms and Low-Floor Coaches were painted white with one large dark green stripe on the right front window and one light green stripe over the first window on the left side. The dome of the newer ones from 2003 and 2007 had it painted in the back. Since 2010, all buses have been painted white and have a sleek blue cap at the top of them, except for the hybrid models, which have green caps.
IndyGo also operates 40 Flexible Service vans and employs a contractor to operate an additional 40.