INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Some Indianapolis Public School students will soon have a new way to get around the city. The school district is set to launch a partnership with IndyGo next month.
The move could help reduce the burden on the IPS transportation system and give IndyGo's daily ridership numbers a boost.
A pilot program will start at Shortridge High School and run from May 1 to May 31. The district is purchasing 500 fare cards for a flat fee of $5,000.
Depending on how the pilot program goes, this is something that could spread to other IPS high schools.
Students like Joleena Mundy take the IPS bus to and from school each day. She said it takes about 40 minutes to get to Shortridge each day. While the yellow bus is convenient for the route to school, Mundy says getting to an after-school job can be an issue for some students.
"They have to rush home to get their parents to drive them," Mundy said.
She says that is part of the reason why she is excited her school has been selected for the IndyGo pilot program.
"Maybe for kids who want a job or want to have something after school, not at school, [having] the option to have free ride to get there would be really cool option," Mundy said.
The teens will gain IndyGo routes as an alternative to the normal school bus.
"This could allow so much more flexibility in people’s schedules," said freshman El’ad Nichols-Kaufman.
The IndyGo bus stop is just feet from the school's doors. A Red Line stop - part of the planned rapid transit system - is set to be built at the nearest intersection.
"It allows our students to garner another skill, riding public transportation," said Shane O'Day, principal at Shortridge.
There is also some incentive for IndyGo to join forces with IPS. The partnership comes with 425 one-day passes for parents and staff. The access could encourage some new riders to board a city bus for the first time.
"The ridership will go up with just the students but it's also telling your friends and family," said Lauren Day, spokesperson for IndyGo.