A Remote Transit Center (RTC) is an area out in an underserved part of town, but located along an existing commuter route. It would be a space that would function as both a garage (overnight parking of a few buses) and transit center (mornings and evenings), it would be inactive during the day time. Four or so buses already in use would be repurposed to call the RTC their home at night. In the early hours, the four buses would run new local routes passing through high density housing to get people to the RTC. These new local routes would only be active in the morning and evening, not serviced during work hours. Once one of the buses arrives at the RTC, the riders can then access the traditional main commuter route. The 4 buses eventual service the existing commuter route and wind up at the DTC. Having the 4 buses in the RTC would provide ability to fill the gap during peak times, be a backup to another bus that gets delayed on its way out in the morning or they could run non-stop editions of the route from the RTC to the DTC. The last bus could be the “running late” bus. It would leave an hour or 2 after the normal commuter rush and still be a non-stop direct edition. During the day the buses could be cleaned in town at the normal depot. During the evening commute time, the four buses would then take commuters from the DTC back to its RTC. As these four buses arrive, the RTC would turn into a nightly hub: 3 buses would be assigned the new local pickup route (the same one from the mornings), while 1 would each be assigned another new local “Shopping” route that would provide access to super markets, strip malls, etc until a reasonable hour of night. This would allow the Non Car users to be able to use IndyGo exclusively to perform everything necessary to live from getting to and from work to doing their nightly shopping.
The idea for this concept is borrowed from the retail concept of Time of Purchase. For instance, in the morning you dedicate more space to breakfast items (coffee and donuts) whereas the same space is then repurposed at lunch and dinner time. The same goes for buses, while the established routes are good repurposing some buses at key points in time would then allow for better coverage with the same number of assets/buses/drivers.
Variations/Additions to this concepts once the pilot proves feasibility:
- Assign 12 person passenger vans as well to the RTC to do “ride share” like services to and from points along the new local routes (in the morning/evenings) or directly to the RTC. This would cost the rider more than the average ride, but would then be transferable to cover their normal commuter fare.
- Same van concept that could operate more like a vanpool, it hits certain “stops” every morning if enough people band together and prepay to be picked up there every morning/night
- Partner with supermarkets and have a designated evening stop for these “shopper” buses to enable pay ahead/pickup ordering so individuals can order ahead and not have to even get off the bus.
- Have special “luggage racks” near seats for riders to easily store their purchased goods and/or redesigned seats to prevent cans/fruits/etc from rolling off the seats.
- Make the RTC actually be a mall/supermarket, strip mall to easily facilitate shopping activities
- A hotline number/smart phone app would allow regular commuters to note they are late so the bus could now how many late people are coming and leave when they hit the number of late comers.