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Standing on a manhole, waiting for the bus.

The ups and downs of getting across town

Photo of Andrew Arenson
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I live downtown. A friend was hosting an event on the northeast side on a Saturday,  about a thirty minute drive away. For various reasons I didn't want to drive. I could bike there, but it would be an arduous bike trip for me, and the last portion would be on very unsafe roads. I could take a ride-share, but it would be expensive.

Bus to the rescue! Miracle of miracles, the bus I needed, which didn't even run every hour past the bus stop I needed, just happened to be running exactly when I needed it to. Sure, it would be a half mile walk to get the bus and another half mile walk after I got off the bus, but I had some time to spare and it was a pleasant day. For just a few minutes of extra time, I could have saved the initial half mile walk and taken a different bus to the downtown changing station, but then I'd have to pay two fares.

And I enjoyed the trip. Put in some earphones and caught up on podcasts. When I reached my stop, I was disappointed to find no sidewalk. The grass was wet. Luckily, I'd worn water-resistant shoes, but I still had to pick my way carefully to keep from getting stuck in the mud. 

On the way home, the southbound stop was, naturally, on the other side of the street and was also a block away. I had to cross a major intersection twice. Going east to west I at least had a signal, but going north to south there was none, and no crosswalk for either. It was easy enough to find the bus stop, but a little dismaying. Not only was there no sidewalk, but no shelter, no seat, and the ground wasn't even flat, instead sloping away from the street. I ended up standing on a manhole cover nearby.

The bus came, ten minutes late, and I once again enjoyed my podcasts and the scenery on the way home.

I would love to be able to take public transportation to get places, but it sure isn't easy.

Unique Challenge Code

INDYCHALLENGE

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Photo of Jasmine Comer

Hi Andrew Arenson ! I'm Jasmine one of this year's online facilitators! As a fellow occasional bus rider, this story sounds all too familiar; just as a few bags of groceries and a small child and this is my story. Do you use apps like google maps that have busing information programmed in or would you like a separate app specifically for Indygo buses? Also would a schedule that ran similarly to the weekday schedule be efficient for weekend travel?

Photo of Andrew Arenson

I like using Google Maps. If it could also show me on the map where the bus is, like Lyft and Uber do, that would help give me confidence that the bus is on its way.

I don't necessarily need the weekend and weekday schedules to be the same, but every 20 min or more frequent would be nice.

Photo of Jasmine Comer

Andrew Arenson , I could see how beneficial the little bus icon moving on the map would be for accurate and up to date commuting.

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