Hamilton County opts out of expanded bus service

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. - For years, many thought Hamilton County would see expanded public transit service with buses that take people to and from Fishers and Carmel to downtown Indy.

For now though, those plans are headed nowhere; high costs and concerns that there wouldn’t be enough ridership are pumping the brakes on bus service to parts of Hamilton County.

“Collecting revenues and then not seeing immediate gratification for it is a challenge,” said Mayor Scott Fadness (R – Fishers).

Bus service to Fishers, Carmel, and Westfield, to and from downtown Indy, for now is no longer a consideration. The county put the brakes on adding additional service.

“Residents around here, they’re open minded to improving how we get around, obviously transportation is going to continue to be a major issue,” said Fadness.

A project that could cost millions in taxpayer dollars is not getting the momentum it would need.

“The prudent thing to do, the respectful thing to do is to take a real hard look at all these things happening in our country today and think critically about whether this is the right thing to do or not,” said Fadness.

“The next opportunity that voters are going to have in Hamilton County would be 2018,” said Bryan Luellen, IndyGo’s Director of Public Affairs.

The expanded service is on hold for at least another two years. IndyGo officials though are holding out hope Hamilton County will come around.

“The system does need to be regional. Just because there’s a job that exists north of 96th Street, that doesn’t mean that it’s not important to get to,” said Luellen.

“Our residents don’t live by county boundaries; they live by what’s available regionally,” said Lori Kaplan, the Executive Director of the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority.

Regional mass transit is seen by many as a necessity. Central Indiana’s rapid growth transit officials say could support expanded service.

“We have people crossing county lines all the time between their residences, their places of work, for healthcare,” said Kaplan.

Marion County is moving forward with expanded bus service. There is a referendum on November’s ballot asking taxpayers to pay for increased bus service throughout Indianapolis.

 

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