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An IndyGo bus.

Source: (Photo provided by IndyGo.)

INDIANAPOLIS — Dedicated bus lanes are vital to the safety and efficiency of traffic in downtown Indianapolis, says the head of IndyGo.

You may have heard of Republican State Senator Aaron Freeman’s attempt to stop the construction of dedicated bus lanes with Senate Bill 52. State Sen. Freeman argues more studies should be done on dedicated lanes’ effects on traffic, but he’s also said plainly that dedicated lanes would cause more backups, delays, and accidents.

“I would say we are disappointed that we are facing the conversation again,” says Jennifer Pyrz, interim President and CEO of IndyGo, “but we’re absolutely ready to answer any questions the senator has.”

In an interview with IndyPolitics, Pyrz argues dedicated bus lanes are actually beneficial to traffic and provide a more safe, efficient flow for car drivers and bus riders.

“Through dedicated lanes, we’re able to stay on a reliable schedule. We’re able to get to stations when people expect us,” Pyrz explains. She says data from the Red Line portion of IndyGo’s Indianapolis transit route shows a 40-percent decrease in crashes and a two-to-five-mile increase in travel speed. Pyrz says IndyGo is ready to replicate that success with the Blue Line, but those plans are on hold for now.

Some businesses in and around the proposed Blue Line transit route were originally against the Blue Line plan, but Pyrz says IndyGo did the right thing and went to those people and sat down with them to hear their concerns.

Pyrz continues, “nothing was off the table. We were able to clear up a lot of misconceptions. We were able to show them the design plans and talk through what improvements would actually be.”

Opponents to IndyGo’s dedicated lanes say not enough people use IndyGo to justify the cost and construction, but Pyrz tells IndyPolitics that the company logged over 6.7-million rides across the entire network last year, which was an increase from 2022.

Pyrz says every transit company was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but IndyGo is rebounding and is expecting the grant money to be ready soon in order to begin Blue Line construction.