By Wade Coggeshall
INDIANAPOLIS — Federal funding may have ended for a bus service connecting Indianapolis International Airport with the city's downtown, but rides will continue in an altered fashion.
Previously known as IndyGo's Green Line, the service will still be maintained by Go Express Travel through an arrangement with the Indianapolis Airport Authority.
"We worked with them to continue operating it," said Carlo Bertolini, a spokesman for the IAA and airport.
There are changes, however. The bus will now run every half-hour and charge passengers $10 each way. Previously the bus ran three times per hour and cost riders $7 one way. Hours of operation also are now different. It was 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; now it's 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.
The bus' route runs between the airport's Ground Transportation Center (Zone 1) and a point downtown that's close to dozens of hotels and the Indiana Convention Center. Travel time is about 15 minutes.
Bertolini says demand for the service goes up or down depending on whether there are major events in the city, like conventions, that draw lots of out-of-town visitors.
"It really adds a lot of value," he said. "When people are looking to come here, it's great to have that option. It's an alternative to using a taxi or limo to get downtown."
Tim Peterson, operations manager for Go Express Travel, got plenty of feedback about the bus service's continued existence after the federal grant that helped fund it expired on Sept. 16.
"Since the 16th we've been inundated with calls regarding this service," he said. "We've heard from many travelers coming in to Indianapolis who were referred to us."
For now there are no changes to the route.
"That's really to make this a smooth transition for passengers and the hotels," Peterson said.
However, the plan is for Go Express Travel to begin offering door-to-door transportation to downtown hotels in the next month or so.
"We hope this is a service that's needed and wanted, and sustainable," Peterson said.
IndyGo's Route 8 still takes passengers from the airport's Ground Transportation Center (Zone 6) to Ohio Street downtown, which is within walking distance of several hotels. That's available daily. The difference is it makes designated stops along the way and is not a direct route.
"Compared to other cities, there's really no wait for taxis here, and the rates aren't unreasonable," Bertolini said. "And of course rental cars are a viable option. We're well-covered. This is just one we were in danger of losing and wanted to keep."
For more information on Go Express Travel's airport-to-downtown bus service, call 274-0060.