Passengers test IndyGo’s new electric buses

Passengers test IndyGo’s new electric buses

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IndyGo’s new electric buses are giving rides now.

It’s just a test to see the reaction of passengers before the buses are officially out for use along the coming bus rapid-transit lines: Red, Blue and Purple.

The new electric buses promise a smoother ride, but not everybody had a smooth ride the first day of the tests.

At $1 million a bus, the battery-powered buses are updated with the latest technology so each rider can have the maximum comfort public transportation can provide.

“In addition to the batteries, we also have electronic screens that will display an in-route map for our riders to know where they are along the route and then USB chargers at every seat as well,” said Jerome Horne, an IndyGo ridership experience specialist.

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If, for some reason, the bus battery wasn’t fully charged in the morning, it’s easy to get the bus up and moving without much of a delay, Indy Go said.

“So, these buses will also have electric, wireless-charging capabilities,” Horne said. “So, we’re actually going to have, you can imagine, a big wireless charger for your phone except built into the ground. So at the end of our routes, these buses are able to pull onto those chargers and that will help give it a little bit of a top off.”

For the most part, the battery-powered system does a better job at reducing vibrations from the road and noise. 

Test rider Xavier Hill said the current buses loudly go “du-loomp-loomp-loomp” on their routes. “So, you can hear them when they pull up, but, these, you can’t hear them.”

They’re not perfect though.

On my trip, the bus couldn’t move after one stop because the doors kept opening and closing unprompted.

“The bus already has kinks on it!” one man said.

After their first ride, there are still things people preferred about the older buses.

“These normal buses, they not like this long,” Hill said. “And the normal buses have, like, many more seats. These buses don’t got that many seats.”

Since it’s just a test, some things could still change.​​​​​​​

“We expect people to respond pretty favorably,” Horne said. “In addition, we want to make sure the ride is comfortable, clean, fast and reliable, and we want to give people the opportunity to also be productive on their way.”

The 13 buses on routes now will increase to 31 buses in September, when the Red Line is set to open.