The Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority has announced that the Indy Express bus to Carmel will be no more. CIRTA announced that Dec. 19 will be the last day for the commuter service, dealing a blow to mass transit north of 96th Street.
The bus line had fallen on hard times recently with the Carmel City Council reluctantly approving $30,000 in September to keep the service afloat. At the time, city councilors said they were disappointed that there was no marketing plan in place to grow the service.
“There’s no marketing plan and there’s no money for a marketing plan,” City Councilor Rick Sharp said at the time. “So it’s very disconcerting. It becomes an unfair subsidy for a very small number of residents.”
City Councilor Kevin Rider said at the time: “We can’t continue to throw money at something that will lose money forever.”
This all comes after CIRTA scaled back the routes in early September. One bus was eliminated and the $5-per-ride fare wasn’t enough to cover expenses.
Miller Transportation, a private company, operated the services while CIRTA served as program coordinator. They originally offered two buses to run three daily trips between downtown Indianapolis and one stop in Carmel, at a park-and-go lot.
Indy Express ridership has declined from about 69,000 riders during its inception in 2008 to about 26,000 riders in 2013, according to CIRTA. Carmel had considerably low numbers, about half of what a similar route in Fishers would bring in, according to CIRTA.