This is the third in a series of stories by Kimmel, who's given up her car and is relying primarily on public transit.
Many of you probably know that the transit legislation essentially died at the Statehouse last week. In a House Committee, the proposed bill failed to pass with an 11-10 vote. But what you may not know is that while the Committee was voting, IndyGo was working to increase ridership to levels this city hasn’t seen in years and to keep up with the demand for public transit during these couple of weeks of the Super Bowl.
So far, so good. Call it the calm before the storm, but with weekend one of the Super Bowl festivities under our belt, things seem to be running fairly smoothly. The buses have been packed with locals coming from the suburbs to experience the festivities and I haven't heard too many complaints about people being later than usual to their jobs.
My bus rides this week have been a mix of two types of people. During the week, on my way to work, I ride with people just trying to get to work who, at 8:30 in the morning, are not very affected by the Super Bowl visitors. These are the same faces I see and have become familiar with in the last few weeks and things seem pretty normal.
In the evenings and on the weekend, however, I ride buses full of people who look scared to death to be riding. They seem highly confused and it’s obvious who’s riding for the first time.
I have to chuckle at their faces and actions because I know that was me just a month ago not being able to find a seat and realizing I have to stand, trying to figure out where to hold on, not wanting to touch other people or invade their space.
One thing has been consistent this week though: The energy of the city has brought more conversation amongst the riders. I myself have been joining the conversation. I’ve met Sara, the woman who used to drive a bus herself several years ago and, though she is a huge Colts fan, is glad she doesn’t have to drive during the Super Bowl.
I’ve met Holly who had never stepped foot on a bus and was excited to see her friend’s band play in the Super Bowl Village. And I’ve met a guy they call Floyd, who carries around a metal bar to keep off the Pit Bulls who live in the neighborhood close to his job that he commutes an hour to — daily.
I've met people from all walks of life riding the bus for all different reasons and, whatever their reason, every person I’ve talked to has excitement and pride for their city.
Every rider has a story and so does Indianapolis.
If we can pull off this next weekend and bring light — whether negative or positive — to the sad state of our system, to the capability and to the need, Sara, Holly, Floyd, me and you will be able to enjoy the city as it should be and the transit bill will keep moving forward in legislation so that hopefully we can have this kind of ridership well beyond the Super Bowl.