Greenwood officials explore bus expansion options

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GREENWOOD, Ind. – Community leaders in Greenwood are exploring ways to expand transit options in an effort to keep up with the steady growth south of Indianapolis.

While big employers along I-65 like Amazon, FedEx and others have hired thousands of Hoosiers over the past two years, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said there’s a lingering problem. .

“They have a constant turnover problem due to lack of transportation,” Myers said. “Many of their employees don’t have reliable transportation. They depend on others, they depend on carpooling.

A recent one year study of Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organizationor DFO, found that users were satisfied with the transportation services offered by Access Johnson County. The study also found that riders would like Access Johnson County to add more routes and hours of service, including weekends.

“We’ve done a number of these studies in different suburban communities where people are trying to get to work in one way or another,” DFO Deputy Director Sean Northup said. “And it all depends on the amount of funding available and how many drivers they can get.”

Access Johnson County bus driver Sally McCarter said she often encounters passengers who are trying to find a new job but don’t have their own way to get there. Recently, she said she picked up a man who said his first shift was from Friday 6:00 p.m. to Saturday 6:00 a.m.

“He said ‘I guess I’m going to have to Uber, but it’s going to cost me a hell of a lot of money,’ and I said ‘sure,'” McCarter said.

In order to help more employees get to work, especially along the I-65 corridor, Myers said he would like to start discussions with landowners along I-65 to add more bus services to their facilities. By working with the city to establish new economic improvement districts, new bus routes to facilities could be funded through a property tax increase approved by the majority of business owners and individual ratepayers in the area. would not be affected.

Such shuttle services for employees are currently used in Plainfield and Whitestown as a means of connecting residents to their jobs with major employers.

“I think if we can get all the owners together to agree on that, that would be a good thing for this area,” Myers said.

“Employers getting access to employees is probably the thing that’s most urgently needed and has the fewest hurdles in getting some sort of dedicated funding,” Northup said.

Although discussions have yet to begin, Myers said he would like to have some sort of plan worked out over the next six months.

For other areas, the DFO Transit Study also showed that community leaders and stakeholders are interested in extending the IndyGo Red Line as far south as Whiteland and Franklin. However, such a move would require voters in Pleasant Township in Greenwood to approve an income tax increase, and it’s unclear when that question might appear on a ballot for a referendum vote.

“There were strong feelings back and forth about it,” Northup said. “It’s really going to be up to the township and the communities, how they want to move forward with these recommendations.”

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