. . . CIRTA spokeswoman Jen Thomas, in an email to The Star, said one of three pickup times would be eliminated and the other two would be adjusted.
Through Friday, CIRTA’s pickup times will remain at 6:25 a.m., 7:10 a.m. and 7:55 a.m. for Fishers and 6:25 a.m., 7:10 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. for Carmel, according to CIRTA’s website.
Both municipalities, however, are at risk of losing the service after December. Miller Transportation, which operates the buses, threatened to stop the service used by fewer than 100 people a day, citing costs.
“We’ve been operating it out of pocket as a part of business,” Christy Campoll, schedule service manager for Miller Transportation told the Fishers Town Council last month. “But there is not enough fare income to support the operation of the service. ... Now we are looking for external funding.”
The Fishers council has voted to pay Miller up to $22,500 through the end of the year to continue the service. Carmel’s finance committee is considering a similar proposal that would pay the company $30,000 through December.
Fishers also will pay Eastern Star Church $27,500 for use of a parking lot at 106th Street and Lantern Road, where riders board the buses.
“I was hesitant to vote for this,” Fishers council member David George said after the vote. George cited low ridership.
About 20 to 30 people ride the buses on each of the three trips, according to CIRTA. There are also three return trips in the evening. But the number of passengers could drop after the schedule is reduced.
The schedule changes have some commuters concerned.
Frank McCann, Fishers, says it is cheaper for him to ride the bus to Downtown Indianapolis most days. The cost of parking alone makes it worth it, he said.
But at $5 a trip, there are not enough customers like McCann to sustain the service. To break even in Fishers, Miller Transportation officials say they need to collect $1,110 per day. Currently, the company is collecting $665 per day . . .This daily bus service has been running since 2007 when it was first started by IndyGo with the help of a federal grant. CIRTA took over funding for the bus service when the federal grant money ran out. One Fishers resident, Joe Hayes, who commutes to work daily, suggests the answer to the problem is a multi-billion dollar mass transit rail system that can "move large quantities of people quickly and safely." At least I know that the answer the Star's editors want to hear, who want Indianapolis and suburban taxpayers to enact a regional income tax to support a regional mass transit system that might one day make that a possibility.