This is the second in a series of stories by Kimmel, who's given up her car and is relying primarily on public transit.
I don’t care about the Super Bowl. There, I said it. I watched it once because the team I sometimes root for was playing, but still, the white noise of the game on TV will never cease to put me to sleep.
This year is obviously different. This year I am one of many Hoosiers involved in the hoopla and working to make it a good experience for visitors. My excitement comes from the remarkable things that the game has done and will do for Indianapolis: the food trucks, the street improvements, the Near Eastside Legacy Project, the TURF arts pavilion and the 46 for XLVI mural project, to name a few.
I am also concerned about a few things.
I am concerned that the people with whom I ride cannot stop their lives for the city to host the Super Bowl. That adding different routes and detours and people to the already significant problems of the public transit system is only going to make the commute to work more difficult for the people who need it the most.
It will certainly be confusing, inconvenient and chaotic and will probably leave people waiting unnecessarily long in cold weather.
I’ve also heard concerns that the visitors in town who do care about the game will no doubt be shocked at the state of our transit system…especially coming from such transit-reliant cities as Boston and New York.
It is disconcerting to think that a lot of opinions of our otherwise great city might be based on negative transit experiences.
However, I’m hopeful. I believe that the first weekend of February will be a good glimpse into what the public transit system could ultimately look like for our city with extra buses, circulator buses, full buses and free buses.
I know it will be another struggle to add to the daily lives of the people who rely so heavily on public transit, but, in my opinion, IndyGo has done a significant thing to offer free rides from Feb. 2-5 even for the regular routes — and to add the extra buses, shuttles and routes to ease the pain even a little bit.
The free rides are funded through a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant to acknowledge and thank current riders for putting up with the hassle of the last few months and to attract new riders who otherwise might not utilize the system.
It is equally as exciting to think that people who don’t live in the heart of downtown will choose to ride the bus rather than pay to park and will be forced to step onto a bus for the first time.
I know there will be some bumps and problems and complaints about the transit system, but there already are and hopefully it’s clear that things are being done to improve them. I will try to be optimistic that the kinks have been worked out for the dependent riders and will remain confident that the first weekend of February will be yet another turning point for Indianapolis public transit.
And this year, I am hoping that instead of sleeping to the sounds of the Super Bowl, I will be traveling with ease through this city — to work, to the NFL village, to the parties and to experience all the other great things Indianapolis has in store for us.