A lot has happened since I last posted. It seems that a lot of work is being done on the ground, by individuals and organizations, to move Indianapolis transit forward. Every few days I hear of a neighborhood transit meeting, or a public input session or some other form of transit event. Though I most often agree that this is the best way of getting things done, and am not an advocate for top down approaches to local issues, it is more realistic that the government needs to get on board this issue before any real change will come about.
Public transit improvements need to be made on a large-scale level and the changes are not something that can be done in small steps. Local efforts are doing a significant job in awareness and outreach, but local efforts are limited when it comes to legislation and policy change. Luckily, just a couple of weeks ago, the City-County Council unanimously voted to approve the IndyGo proposed budget and many improvements to the system are on their way.
But is that enough?
Granted, it is a huge step in the right direction, but are the increased frequencies, new routes and the transit center going to change your mind or your lifestyle enough to get you to choose the bus over your car?
I hear a lot of comments like "who cares?!" or "no way I would ride the bus, it's too..." (fill in the blank with your adjective).
I have to think that if the demand side of public transit were there, the supply side would be forced to make improvements..i.e. if more residents were choosing the bus as their main mode of transportation, the government would have to respond with improvements.
It's the classic chicken or the egg scenario. Does ridership need to increase before more funding will be allocated or does there need to be a greater investment made before more people step foot on the bus?
What will it take for more people to ride? I wish I knew.
What I do know is that there is one week left for the Commuter Connect Challenge and if you log your commute via alternative transportation, you are automatically entered to win 500 dollars.
Maybe that's enough incentive for you to try it out.