INDIANAPOLIS — A free ride usually comes with strings attached — rarely is anything free.
But tens of thousands have taken advantage of the free rides for the IndyGo Red Line. While IndyGo admits to its challenges, it hopes to build on its successes and make improvements.
Since its official launch in September, IndyGo's Red Line has given many Hoosiers an option to get a taste of public transportation.
Call 6 met with IndyGo President Inez Evans and Board Chair Juan Gonzalez at the transit headquarters to learn what lessons are being learned from the Red Line thus far and the priorities for the electric buses moving into the new year.
WATCH: Exclusive interview with IndyGo's CEO and Board Chair.
Gonzalez: "You better believe that she (Evans) is getting texts from all of us."
Evans: "On weekends."
Gonzalez: "(At) any kind of hours, 'hey, I'm waiting 15 minutes instead of ten. What is going on?' We want to make sure what we tell people is true. We are delivering a system that is going to work in the future."
Evans: "We are constantly looking at how we can make improvements and make it better."
Among the pending improvements, finding places where people can park their vehicles and ride the bus is an important one.
"We haven't stopped looking for those parking spots on the Red Line. Our team is anxiously looking at areas where there are underutilized parking garages," Evans said. "Maybe there are church parking lots that are underutilized during the day, colleges, things that are along the route."
They've seen successes including the extra 600-800 hundred football fans using the Red Line to get to the Colts games.
The free fare has also allowed IndyGo to build brand loyalty and allow people to test the service.
"I'm sitting at a dinner, when somebody says, 'you know what I did today? I used the Red Line to come downtown and used it to go back.' That's the whole purpose for us," Gonzalez said.
Twenty-nine buses are in the Red Line fleet. Challenges are not being overlooked, but instead, the leadership team believes it's shaping their daily and future priorities.
"Consistency on the schedule, getting our technology fixed, so our customers can have real-time information, (and) be able to purchase their fares," Gonzalez said. "And hiring enough of our personnel too, so (we) can meet service demands."
"From the Red Line perspective, (the) tech piece is critical. We have to fix it," Gonzalez said. "We have to make sure the app works — real-time info is working. And from the IndyGo system as a whole: recruiting, recruiting, recruiting," Gonzalez said.