Sunday, August 24, 2014

CIRTA To Cut Bus Schedule From Hamilton County To Downtown Due To Low Ridership

It's a question the proponents of mass transit should be compelled to answer. If people won't ride a reliable, luxury bus to work from Carmel or Fishers to downtown Indianapolis with bathrooms and WiFi daily at a very affordable price, then why would they ride a regular old mass transit bus they might have to share with people they view less desirably? The Indianapolis Star reports that CIRTA will reduce the three, regularly-scheduled trips from Carmel and Fishers to downtown daily that costs only $5 to ride because fewer than 100 people ride the buses on a daily basis. That's not enough to cover the nut of the private bus operator even with substantial subsidies the cities of Carmel and Fishers are paying annually to subsidize the daily bus service.
 . . . 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.


Pete Boggs said...

From this post regarding mass transit schemes & going back a few topics, to include city councilors promoting civil unrest & further misadventures in overpriced public sector, overdevelopment (new courthouse); government is out of control.

Within recent memory, republicans once supported fiscal responsibility & reducing the size of government; to its Constitutionally limited, purposeful frame. Where are those "republicans," who fanned us with their resumes, touting leadership & fiscal sanity?

More government & tax is the problem- not the answer.

Unknown said...

At 100 riders using it five days a week for 50 week per year that is a $33 a day government subsidy. This definitely shows that there is no demand for mass transit in Hamilton County.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this right:

There are not enough users to pay for a service because people don't want it to ride from the county with the highest per-capita income in Indiana to and from Indianapolis during a set time schedule, so some TAX AND SPEND liberals think that since not enough people want to use it, EVERYBODY should pay to have a service that isn't used.

That is just so convoluted and WRONG!

Bottom line, let the market determine the need. There is no market for a mass transit to and from Hamilton County, so we should NOT tax nor put any public money into it at all.

Anonymous said...

This is another story of pay-to-play politics:

Construction industry pays elected officials in forms of "campaign donations" or "trips" etc. Elected officials decide that TAX money must be spent on the projects: unwanted Cricket field, despised bike lanes, Regional Operations Center, Public Safety Building, mass transit trains and buses. The decision is contrary to need, common sense, and community desire. The elected officials then raise taxes and/or appropriate tax funds for the projects.

Pay-to-play developers win. Elected official win. TaxPAYERS PAY!!!

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy."