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IndyGo’s response to virus pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IndyGo’s bus transportation is considered an essential city service during the coronavirus pandemic.

Management for IndyGo is keeping downtown’s Julia Carson Transit Center open but limiting the number of people and their time inside the building.

Tommie Echols spends a lot of time around the Transit Center waiting for his bus. The emergency declaration has him leaving nothing to chance. “I got my spray bottle” loaded with alcohol, Echols said.

Echols says he sprays the protective gloves he is wearing a lot. With the bus as his daily transportation he is concerned it hasn’t been properly cleaned.

“I think they don’t have enough people around here,” Echols said.

Another IndyGo rider, Kevin Bond wouldn’t take off his protective mask for an interview with News 8. He is hypervigilant when it comes to protecting himself. He says his regular bus was dusty and needed cleaning, and he’s not sure it was sanitized well enough.

“I’m concerned about, I don’t know, if somebody has a bad cold or that virus. You don’t know,” Bond said.

Plenty of drivers and passengers alike share Bond’s concern. IndyGo drivers parked at the Transit Center on Wednesday afternoon was either cleaning their bus or wearing a mask.

“We are taking safety very seriously,” said Lesley Gordon, the public affairs director of IndyGo.

She says the buses are being cleaned at least once a day and while at the Transit Center.

“We have also started electrostatic cleaning, which will help us. It is a deeper cleaning. It will disinfect for a little longer and will reach some of those hard to reach places, and we have added more hand sanitation stations and making sure our operators know where those stations are and making sure everything we are doing is as clear as possible,” Gordon said.

IndyGo will maintain its full schedule until further notice.

IndyGo Blue Line project upsetting local business owners

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IndyGo’s Blue Line Rapid Transit System will run from the east side to the airport in the future, but business owners along the West Washington Street route are pushing for changes to the proposed plans.

The project is expected to have a designated lane for the bus, much like the Red Line. West Washington Street will go from four lanes to two, but store owners fear the Blue Line will negatively impact their businesses.

Many told News 8 the road isn’t efficiently designed for an exclusive bus lane and will create more congestion.

“It’s hard for us to get trucks in and out of here as we do get a lot of freight in and trying to bring obviously motorcycles in and cars in to park in front of the building which is what we really want,” said Mike Dreyer, owner of Dreyer Honda.

“Instead of people using this main road they’ll divert off onto the residential side streets which causes traffic problems for the residents,” said Rachel Hawkins, owner of Markin Sales.

IndyGo plans to build bus stations in the middle of Washington Street and remove some designated turning lanes. Some business owners feel that could steer potential customers away.

“It’s gonna be easier for someone to just continue west and find the next local shop or business that they’re looking for rather than turning back around and making it an inconvenience for themselves,” Roy Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Body Shop said.

Business owners believe the new line could also affect store profit along West Washington Street.

“As a business owner at that point it affects you and then it trickles down to possibly employees losing jobs,” added Reynolds.

According to a study posted on Indy Connect Central Indiana’s Regional Transit Initiative, “it is not realistic to expect ridership increase under even the most favorable conditions to approach the thresholds for exclusive lanes.”Business owners suggest IndyGo keep the existing way riders are picked up and dropped off.

Business owners suggest IndyGo keep the existing way riders are picked up and dropped off.

“This to me is the major artery in and out of town and to give up 60% of the road for 20% ridership doesn’t make sense to me,” Dreyer mentioned.

There is no word on when the project will begin, but store owners said it is several years away.

A meeting about the Blue Line projects is scheduled for Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wayne Township Government Center.

IndyGo officials are expected to be at the meeting.

IndyGo is in need of more drivers, mechanics and support staff.

The public transit agency has 50 open positions.

IndyGo says it needs more staff after Indianapolis residents approved a proposal to increase services for transit. IndyGo employs 600 people, 460 who are drivers.

Watch the video to learn more.