Monday, March 13, 2023

Another One Rides the Bus

The thing about Indy is it's not a city where people have to use public transport if they have the option of a personal vehicle. In a dense coastal metropolis, where the traffic is brutal and just finding a place to park a car can be a herculean task, there are large enough downsides to vehicle ownership that people are willing to overlook a certain amount of hassle to ride the bus or subway.

Here in the north part of Indy, there's not an apartment, condo, or house that doesn't come with a parking space or two and, as long as you don't try to navigate long swaths of the major arteries that get clogged with commuting suburbanites during the morning and evening rush hours, traffic is never really that bad.

So a certain amount of people were willing to try the Red Line as a novelty.

But if those young urban professionals gotta deal with hobos barfing on their wingtips, they'll be back in their Teslas and 3-series Bimmers with a quickness. 

And the hobos don't pay to ride; what little non-tax money IndyGo gets to offset the cost of running the Red Line comes from those yuppies that the hobos scare away. I don't necessarily expect a city bus line to turn a profit; it's a service, like pumping poop, that can be justified as a public long as it works and is convenient, and if it becomes hard to tell the buses from the sewers, that ain't convenient.

The Red Line is working okay for far. But I've seen the cracks starting to form at the edges, and it worries me.