Q&As listed below are from the IndyGo feedback forms and transportation town halls. The list will be updated regularly.
What is IndyGo?
- IndyGo is the city’s public transit bus system. It is the largest public transit system in the state of Indiana.
Why is IPS proposing to remove yellow bus service from select high school students?
- IPS has significantly higher transportation costs per pupil compared to peer districts. Because of these costs, coupled with several factors related to COVID-19 and a $15 million district shortfall for the current school year, IPS has developed a strategic approach to maximize funding that doesn’t negatively affect classrooms.
When will this transition take place?
- If approved by the IPS Board of School Commissioners, selected high school students will begin to use IndyGo as their transportation to and from school beginning with the 2021–22 school year.
What will transitioning high school students from yellow bus to IndyGo mean for students?
- Students who are selected for this transition, as well as those who opt-in to the program, will receive a free IndyGo bus pass from the district.
- The IndyGo bus pass will be embedded into the student’s school-issued ID.
- Students will use IndyGo to get to and from school.
- IPS yellow bus service will NO LONGER be available to these students.
- Students can also use their school-issued ID to travel throughout the city.
How will students be selected for the IndyGo transition?
- Students who will have zero IndyGo bus transfers, have less than a .7 mile total walk, and have less than a 50-minute total journey time (walk + wait + ride) will be the first group of students transitioned to IndyGo.
- For a majority of impacted students, they will experience a shorter travel time on IndyGo than they would on an IPS yellow bus.
- Based on initial estimates, 605 students will be affected during the 2021–22 school year.
Can students/families opt-in to the IndyGo program?
- Additional high school students may opt-out of IPS transportation and opt-in to IndyGo bus service for the school year.
- Students that opt-in to IndyGo service will NO LONGER be able to utilize the IPS yellow bus service.
- Students will be able to opt-in via an online form located on the IPS website if the board votes in April to move forward with this transition.
What happens to the free IndyGo passes for high school students who aren’t selected or opt-in to the program?
- Students who aren’t selected for or opt-in to the IndyGo program for the 2021–22 school year won’t receive a free annual IndyGo bus pass (which they had received in years prior).
- Because of the district’s budget shortfall and desire to not negatively impact classrooms, IPS cannot afford to continue providing two methods of bus service for all high school students — the free annual bus passes and yellow bus service.
How many students will be affected by the transition?
- During the 2021–22 school year, approximately 605 high school students will use IndyGo as their primary means of transportation to and from school.
- This includes students from Grades 9-12; incoming freshmen for the 2021–22 school year are included in the calculation.
- IPS expects this to be the first transition of students with additional high school students being transitioned to IndyGo over the next 1-2 years.
Which schools will this transition affect?
- Select students will come from Arsenal Tech, Crispus Attucks, Emmerich Manual, George Washington, Graduation Academy, KIPP Indy Legacy, Newcomer Program @ Northwest Middle School, Shortridge and Thrival Academy will be selected to transition to IndyGo as their primary service for transport to and from school.
- This new proposal is simply the next planned phase of the pilot program, which has been successful since its original rollout.
- Students at Herron, Riverside and Purdue Polytechnic already use IndyGo as an option for transportation to and from school and were not previously transported using yellow bus service.
How will this affect field trips and extra-curricular activities, including sports?
- Transitioning select students to IndyGo won’t have an effect on field trips, extra-curricular activities or athletics.
- Field Trips: IPS provides sufficient coverage for up to seven (7) field trips per student per year.
- Athletics: IPS provides transportation for students to participate in athletic events to and from their school.
What are the benefits of students riding IndyGo?
- 87% of students selected by the district to ride IndyGo will have a shorter ride time to and from school — with an average total journey time of 25 minutes and no more than 50 minutes — and no bus transfers. Student ride times for these same students on yellow bus range from 60 to 75 minutes.
- Students will gain more independence and skills that will prepare them for graduation and beyond as they master navigating the city’s transit system.
- Students will gain more freedom to ride the bus to and from school, work, extracurricular activities, or simply to explore the city.
- Connectivity to the city at-large can also allow students to feel more connected with the community and their surroundings.
Where can I get more detail on this proposed transition?
Does IPS administration need Board approval to move forward with the high school transportation plan?
- Yes, Board approval is needed.
When will IPS make a final decision on whether to move high school students from yellow bus to IndyGo?
- District administration will present its transportation proposal to the IPS Board of School Commissioners during the Board Action Session on March 25, 2021.
- Board Commissioners will vote during the April Action Session on April 29, 2021.
Will community members be able to weigh in?
- The IPS Board of School Commissioners will review/discuss recommendations during the March 25 Board Action Session.
- Action won’t take place until the April 29 Board Action Session.
- Families, schools and the community will be given opportunities to provide feedback through a variety of engagement options while the Board considers the recommendations.
How will the district communicate these changes to affected families?
- Families affected by this change will be informed directly by the district that their student(s) has been assigned to IndyGo as their primary means of transportation to and from school.
- Notices will be sent to families based on their current address.
- Affected families will also be invited to attend Transportation Town Halls, which are currently being planned by the district.
- Full details about this transition will be added to the district’s website soon.
- The district will also provide sponsored ride opportunities for impacted students and their families to experience IndyGo together firsthand.
What if I have an issue with the bus stop(s)?
IPS is working closely with IndyGo to identify and designate appropriate bus stops. Students will not be “assigned” bus stops and may be able to use multiple stops during their morning and afternoon transit.
Will we still communicate the stop closest to students even if it’s not “assigned?”
Students should communicate any issues related to an IndyGo stop or bus to their school’s Family and Community Engagement (FACE) liaison, school leadership or IndyGo partnership liaison.
How is the district keeping students safe if the bus stops aren’t in safe areas?
- Most IndyGo bus stops are in the same areas as current yellow bus stops.
- We ask families to use the same safety protocols they use now when traveling to and from yellow bus stops.
How will students be protected while riding an IndyGo bus?
There are a variety of ways IndyGo works to keep riders safe, including:
- Audio and video surveillance equipment at the Transit Center and on all buses and platforms.
- Emergency call boxes.
Uniformed and undercover police officers who ride IndyGo buses, monitor bus stops and the IndyGo Transit Center.
Is there any exemption or process to appeal being transitioned onto IndyGo?
For students who meet the criteria approved by the IPS Board, an IndyGo transit pass will be issued in lieu of a yellow bus assignment. Students may not opt-out of IndyGo if they meet the approved criteria.
If something happens with a student on IndyGo, who is the contact with whom parents can connect?
Students/parents should contact their FACE Liaison, the school leadership team or the IPS transportation team at IPSTransportation@myips.org with questions or concerns related to IndyGo.
Will IPS Police and/or IMPD have a presence at the walk zones and IndyGo bus stops?
IPS PD will provide support at high-volume bus stops located nearest our four large high schools in the mornings during student arrival and in the afternoons during student dismissal.
If my child has an IEP or 504, are they required to walk or be moved to IndyGo?
Students that have transportation services included in their IEP or 504 plan will continue to receive yellow bus services as required. Students with special needs and those receiving McKinney-Vento services will continue to receive transportation services per their Individualized Education Plan or their McKinney-Vento status, respectively.
What happens if there are changes with IndyGo? Routes closed, etc.
IPS and IndyGo will work closely to monitor any changes to the IndyGo transit network to ensure that students continue to receive reliable transportation aligned to the criteria approved by the board.
Why is IPS removing the IndyGo pass from students who will use yellow bus service? Some students have relied on the pass over the past two to three years (Aleesia)
Because of the district’s budget shortfall and desire to not negatively impact classrooms, IPS cannot afford to continue providing two methods of bus service — the free annual IndyGo bus pass and yellow bus service — for all high school students. Students can keep their IndyGo bus pass if they opt out of yellow bus service.
How is the district accommodating for ESL students for both the walk zones and IndyGo?
All district communication and information regarding walk zones and IndyGo will be translated to support Spanish-speaking ESL students.