Central Indiana residents have a new way to travel between counties on public transportation.
The county-based transit providers in the 10 counties within the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority service area have spent the past few years working behind the scenes to enhance county-to-county travel. While all 10 counties have some form of public transportation, passengers are usually limited to travel within their county due to funding constraints.
Now, the region’s public transit agencies have established “County Connect” transfer points, located near county boundaries. At County Connect transfer points, multiple transit services link up to transfer passengers from one county’s service to the next.
In some cases, County Connect transfer points are at IndyGo bus stops on the outer edges of IndyGo routes. IndyGo passengers can ride to the County Connect point, then transfer to a county-based transit provider. Or, passengers riding a suburban county’s transit provider can ride to a County Connect transfer point, then transfer to IndyGo to continue into Indianapolis. This way, residents of outlying suburban or rural areas can take advantage of IndyGo’s 31 fixed bus routes, which provide access to points throughout the city.
County-based transit providers have also established County Connect transfer points in rural and suburban areas. For example, Access Johnson County and ShelbyGo, the transit providers serving Johnson and Shelby counties, connect at the I-65/State Road 44 interchange to transfer passengers traveling between the two counties.
County Connect transfer points are marked with new bus stop signs. Most transit providers in the suburban counties adjacent to Marion County require a call-ahead reservation and use small transit vehicles, like wheelchair-accessible vans. Each county’s transit provider charges a separate fare to ride. All transit agencies provide service to the general public.
“Transit agencies provide as much service as they can with the limited amount of funding that is available. By establishing the County Connect transfer points, transit providers can at least offer passengers a way to travel across county lines, which is a common need,” Christy Campoll, CIRTA mobility manager, said in a press release.
The transfer points are a low-cost way to leverage existing transportation infrastructure to improve mobility. Their installation comes as IndyGo implements its 2013 service enhancements, which include increased frequency along high-ridership routes and a new east-west route along 86th Street.
Hamilton County Express, the transit service for Hamilton County, connects with IndyGo at five bus stops across the north side of Indianapolis.
According to Hamilton County Express Manager Elaine McGuire, “Our busiest transfer point is the IndyGo Route 19 stop near JC Penney’s at Castleton Square Mall. Passengers make a reservation to ride Hamilton County Express to this bus stop, where they transfer to IndyGo Route 19 and continue their trip into Indianapolis. Hamilton County Express is also open to IndyGo passengers needing to go from a transfer point to somewhere in Hamilton County.”
Hamilton County Express, which requires a call-ahead reservation for service, is operated by Janus Developmental Services and is open to the public.
Transit providers that connect at the 20 County Connect transfer points around the metropolitan area include:
· Boone Area Transit Service (BATS) – Boone County
· Hamilton County Express
· Hancock Area Rural Transit – Hancock County
· LINK Hendricks County
· Access Johnson County Public Transit
· Transportation for Rural Areas of Madison County (TRAM)
· IndyGo – Marion County
· CONNECT Morgan County
· ShelbyGo – Shelby County
· Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA)
To learn more about using public transportation and County Connect, call 327-RIDE or visit the website at www.327ride.net.