IndyGo among local changemakers that are increasing shared mobility options for Indianapolis’ Far Eastside
Posted: 26 July 2022 | Ashlynn Neumeyer - Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation | No comments yet
The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation’s Ashlynn Neumeyer shares exclusive insight into the agency’s ‘Driven 2 Success: The Far Eastside Get Around’ on-demand mobility service, and details how the programme is helping to make transit across Indianapolis-Marion County more equitable and accessible.
IndyGo eagerly supports complementary, community-based micro-transit services for its ability to ensure that all Marion County residents have access to numerous shared mobility options”
The mission of the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo) is to connect our community to cultural and economic opportunities through safe, reliable and accessible mobility experiences. The transit agency – which is required to operate bus service and complementary paratransit services throughout Indianapolis-Marion County’s 403m2 area – understands that, in some parts of the county, a 40ft bus is as impractical as it is inefficient. IndyGo eagerly supports complementary, community-based micro-transit services for its ability to ensure that all Marion County residents have access to numerous shared mobility options.
Most recently, IndyGo partnered with Pathway Resource Center – a community agency that promotes self-sufficiency for disadvantaged, underemployed and at-risk youth and families on the city’s Far Eastside – to launch a mobility-on-demand pilot programme. Referred to locally as ‘Driven 2 Success: The Far Eastside Get Around’, this new community-responsive initiative has been designed to break down the mobility barriers that have disproportionately burdened racially diverse and low-income families who reside in the 46226, 46219, 46229 and 46235 zip code areas.
As of March 2022, residents in these areas can schedule a ride up to 90 minutes before the desired arrival time and, for just $2 per trip, can get curb-to-curb service to and from school, job training opportunities, human service providers, healthcare providers, grocery stores and much more. Residents can reach destinations outside of the micro-transit service area by being dropped off at a nearby IndyGo bus stop.
“IndyGo recognises the critical need to ensure that the city’s most vulnerable populations have multiple safe and reliable mobility options,” said IndyGo’s President and CEO, Inez Evans. “We are eager to see the ways in which this pilot programme can better connect Far Eastside residents to needed services.”
IndyGo recognises the critical need to ensure that the city’s most vulnerable populations have multiple safe and reliable mobility options”
A truly collaborative effort, this partnership is the vision of Pathway Resource Center CEO La Keisha Jackson, who is also an Indianapolis City-County Councillor. Seed money for this initiative was made possible by a Social Innovation Fund Grant from the United Way of Central Indiana. The City of Indianapolis is also a partner. IndyGo pledged to be both a financial and in-kind contributor to the pilot programme. For its part, IndyGo provided five retired cutaway buses, full wraps for each vehicle and $140,000 for two years of service.
“Opportunity — for health, housing, employment, you name it — isn’t a true opportunity if you can’t get to it,” said Jackson. “For so many people in this community, lack of reliable personal transportation options has meant lack of access to opportunities to build a better life. We’re stepping into that gap.”
In the first month of service, 29 Indianapolis residents were enrolled in ‘Driven 2 Success’. Programme leaders are already hearing positive results from riders as they take advantage of this essential service to complete errands and allow themselves more schedule flexibility.
“I have a hard time hearing,” 81-year-old Ausma Karlova said. “The staff at Pathway helped me get enrolled, purchase vouchers and set up my first ride! I use them to get my grocery shopping and post office runs done. I am so glad they are here!”
Another rider expressed gratitude for the service, as it brings relief when balancing her schedule with her son’s.
“As the mother of a son with special needs, ‘Driven 2 Success’ has been a life saver in transporting him back and forth to work,” Sharon Lane said. “I love y’all! Don’t EVER change!”
Jackson said that watching this programme flourish and benefit residents in such a special way has been extremely rewarding and impactful.
Each day teaches us about the transportation needs in the community”
“The reality of this programme is amazing,” Jackson said. “To conceptualise an idea or vision is one thing, but to see it implemented and how it positively affects our residents is something else entirely. When you see that impact, and how ‘Driven 2 Success’ is intertwined in riders’ lives and the lives of their families, it’s truly special. We’re almost a part of the family now, too, as riders use our programme to coordinate their schedules and daily tasks.”
She also said that the programme is still growing and developing.
“Each day teaches us about the transportation needs in the community,” Jackson said. “We are absolutely thrilled to be a provider for such an essential resource to underserved individuals and organisations on the Far Eastside. We are also truly grateful for the collaboration with IndyGo and United Way that makes a world of difference for the families that we are privileged to serve!”
‘Driven 2 Success: The Far Eastside-Get-Around’ is the second community-based micro-transit pilot programme that IndyGo has helped to set in motion in the last two years. Launched in Spring 2020, the ‘Midtown-Get-Around’, graduated from a pilot to a core service offered by the MLK Center, which provides vital individual skills and family resources that allow residents in the Mid-North neighbourhoods of Indianapolis to grow and enhance their lives. The Midtown-Get-Around was designed to serve residents of Indianapolis’ Butler Tarkington, Meridian Kessler, Mapleton Fall Creek and Crown Hill neighbourhoods. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, before it became a mobility-on-demand service, the MLK Center used its Midtown-Get-Around vehicles and drivers to pick up and deliver groceries and prescription medications directly to residents in their homes. This is proof to IndyGo that safe, reliable and accessible mobility experiences may not necessarily result in a passenger trip at all.
It’s the agency’s hope that local initiatives such as this can reinforce and grow the demand for public transit as a catalyst for economic mobility and personal success”
IndyGo, in the meantime, continues to make strides toward the implementation of its network redesign, which includes the future Purple and Blue Line bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors and holds the potential to include micro-transit services, as well. The data and information collected by partner agencies like the MLK Center and Pathway Resource Center will go a long way in helping the transit agency to determine how these types of complementary transportation options might influence existing and future service planning efforts. It’s the agency’s hope that local initiatives such as this can reinforce and grow the demand for public transit as a catalyst for economic mobility and personal success.
Ashlynn Neumeyer is the Communications Specialist at the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo), where she develops and executes key communications that support IndyGo’s initiatives, both internally and externally. Her duties involve writing press releases, articles and newsletters, helping to coordinate team members’ tasks and overseeing general company messaging throughout all facets of the organisation.
Issue 2 2022
Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo)