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At least 2 Red Line buses involved in accidents days ahead of grand opening

Red Line bus crashes

At least two Rapid Transit buses were involved in accidents Friday with passenger vehicles. Both collisions happened on Capitol Avenue, IndyGo confirmed.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — At least two Red Line buses crashed Friday on Capitol Avenue, two days ahead of the rapid transit line’s grand opening.

Both accidents involved passenger vehicles colliding with Red Line buses traveling northbound. No serious injuries were reported.

A van hit a bus around 11:15 a.m. at Capitol Avenue and 14th Street, an IndyGo spokesperson confirmed.

Around 4:30 p.m., a car turning out of a parking lot near Capitol Avenue and Vermont Street hit a second bus, she said.

Joe Carmony, a downtown resident who said he heard the impact of the second collision from his kitchen, called the accident “quite a disturbance.”

“I heard a loud bang outside,” he told News 8. “I walked out and there were all these people gathered here.”

Carmony and other witnesses said they suspected the accident was caused by new traffic patterns.

“There was a bus coming northbound when it’s traditionally a southbound street,” he explained. “It looked like the [driver] crept out and didn’t think to look for anyone coming northbound.”

Red Line buses travel northbound and southbound along Capitol Avenue’s dedicated bus lane; regular traffic can only travel southbound.

Carolyn Piccirillo, whose family lives near the scene of the second crash, said she “wasn’t surprised” when she learned about the accident.

“I think there’s been very little education to the public about how they’re supposed to yield to the buses,” she told News 8. “It seems like [Red Line] bus drivers have been training and training for weeks but I don’t feel like I’ve seen a lot of discussion with the public about how to deal with the Red Line.”

Lauren Day, a spokesperson for IndyGo, said additional signage would be installed Saturday on Capitol Avenue.

“We’ve been actively educating drivers for months,” she told News 8. “It’s really critical that drivers leaving parking lots — and cars turning onto or off of Capitol Avenue — look in both directions.”

Charles Eaton, a Greenwood resident who said he relied on public transit, urged pedestrians and bicyclists to also familiarize themselves with new traffic patterns.

“[The Red Line] is going to be a beautiful thing,” he said. “I ride the bus everywhere I go… But people need to learn to look both ways.”

On Friday evening, a horse-drawn carriage was seen turning onto Capitol Avenue while a Red Line bus traveled northbound. Both vehicles observed traffic rules and shared the formerly one-way street without incident.