April 28, 2010

Budget woes cause IndyGo to cut service

The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo) is in the process of weighing options for adjusting its operations to accommodate a $4.3 million shortfall in its property tax distribution. This source of local revenue accounts for about 30 percent of its total annual budget.

IndyGo has been operating according to a certified budget that was balanced and approved by the City-County Council last fall. Although, in preparation for some expected reductions, the agency already cut one-half million dollars worth of service this year.

"Funding for public transit in Indianapolis is a long-standing problem," explains Mike Terry, President and CEO of IndyGo. "And we have become well-versed at adjusting operations to meet our limitations resulting from dwindling public revenue. The reality of this current shortfall is a devastating blow to public transit in our city."

Despite a 7.5 percent increase in ridership this year and major reductions in costs related to overtime, absenteeism and facility maintenance in recent years, the budget gap remains at about $3 million. This means that an annualized reduction of $6 million in operations and service is needed to accommodate this mid-year crisis resulting from the local funding shortfall. IndyGo anticipates similar shortfalls for 2011 and 2012 due to property tax issues.

IndyGo is exploring options that include service cuts for fixed routes and ADA Open Door service as well as related staffing reductions. Service changes may include reductions in frequency, reduced hours of operation and even route eliminations.

Due to the Indy Connect initiative — a public outreach program focused on regional transportation planning — IndyGo intends to make strategic service adjustments that meet its fiscal limitations while supporting potential future transit expansion plans and funding.

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