The Indianapolis public transit system is moving forward on the $135 million planned Purple Line route with public input meetings over the next two weeks. IndyGo Manager of Marketing and Communications Lauren Day says the route is part of a larger bus rapid transit plan to provide a more "comfortable, upscale, upgraded experience" that isn’t available now. She says the Red, Purple and Blue lines are part of the Marion County Transit Plan that aims to increase bus rapid transit service by 70 percent over the next five years.
In November, voters approved a referendum to pay for expanded public transportation with a 0.25 percent income tax increase. Day says that funding will help IndyGo upgrade its fleet with newer, rapid-transit buses that are "battery electric," which she says will result in quieter, smoother rides for passengers and drivers. In addition to increased ridership, advocates have pointed to economic benefits, citing the example of FedEx saying it was having trouble filling jobs at its hub near Indianapolis International Airport, in parts because some potential employees did not have a way to get to work.
Construction on the Red Line, connecting Broad Ripple with the University of Indianapolis, is expected to begin this year, with service starting in 2019. Crews are expected to break ground on the Purple Line, running from 38th and Meridian streets to Fort Harrison in Lawrence, in 2019 with service to begin in 2020. The Blue Line, connecting Indianapolis International Airport, downtown Indianapolis and the town of Cumberland, would follow in 2021.
The ultimate hope, says Day, is for the transit plan to boost regional connectivity. However, she says much of that will depend on nearby counties passing their own funding mechanisms for public transit.
The Purple Line public input meeting schedule is below:
- Monday, July 10 | 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th Street, Lawrence, IN 46216
- Tuesday, July 11 | 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Meadows YMCA, 3908 Meadows Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46205
- Wednesday, July 12 | 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the CAFE, 8902 E. 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46226
- Monday, July 17 | 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm at the Central Library, 40 E. St Clair Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Monday, July 17 | 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Central Library, 40 E. St Clair Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204