Letters: Money spent on rapid-transit buses is wasted

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Regarding your article about IndyGo’s Purple Line [“Purple Line moving toward 2024 completion,” Aug. 19], how can you regurgitate IndyGo’s press releases with a straight face? As someone who lives along the Red Line route, I can say that the bus is never crowded (is that why the windows are tinted?).

After the $65 million for the Red Line, spending $188 million for another 27 miles of street resurfacing is not moving forward; it’s just adding to public debt. How many cars do you think residents have given up since the Red Line came on-line? Probably zero.

How much worse is the traffic on Meridian Street and College Avenue since the Red Line opened and how many thousands of minutes are wasted by drivers waiting at congested stoplights that used to not be congested? Just ask the residents who sit in their cars waiting to turn left.

How much asphalt is under-utilized by buses running empty miles on dedicated bus lanes? Ask the contractors who put in the asphalt or the climate warriors who never speak of this massive waste of heat-reflecting asphalt (asphalt is a byproduct of fossil fuels, to boot).

Spending $188 million for a transit system with a laughable $5.2 million in annual rider revenue does not sound like a winning proposition for anyone. If we are to believe the given figure of “9 million passenger trips,” this means that fare revenue is only 58 cents per rider.

By the way, “60-foot electric bus[es]” aren’t really efficient if that electricity is moving one lonely driver and mostly empty seats.

IBJ reporters: Do your job and start asking tough questions and act like the money being siphoned into these bottomless pits is your money. Ask IndyGo executives how they are coming along raising the money they promised state legislators that they would raise from the business community. Have these executives explain why a quarter of a billion dollars wouldn’t be better spent on, say, subsidized point-to-point Uber/Lyft fares (as an alternative).

–Matthew Caito

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