PLAINFIELD — Warehouse jobs in Plainfield have hundreds of openings.
According to the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce, the unemployment rate in September was 2% compared to the state average of 3.1%. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development reported over 8,000 employment ads in September for Hendricks County jobs alone.
While workers are needed, especially in the warehouse district, many people in Indianapolis don’t have a way to get there. That’s where the workforce connector shuttles come in.
“Honestly if it wasn't for the Plainfield Connector, I wouldn't be able to return back to my job,” Tre Anderson who rides the Plainfield Connector bus daily said.
Anderson works at Pep Boys in the Plainfield warehouse district. It’s somewhere he use to work previously. He recently moved back to Indianapolis and was looking for a job. When Pep Boys let him know they were looking for workers, he jumped at the opportunity and was able to do so because of the connector bus.
"I am able to make enough money to be on my way to buying a car and everything,” Anderson said. "Working in Indianapolis there wasn't too many options or a pay rate to where I was looking for. Plainfield had more options and higher paying jobs out here and with the Plainfield connector it's definitely all worth it.”
The buses have been operating since 2015. They were created by the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority, also known as CIRTA. They say the connectors fill the gap between IndyGo bus stops in Marion County and e-commerce fulfillment centers in Plainfield and Whitestown.
Jobs in the area pay on average around $22 a hour. CIRTA says Several U.S. cities are testing zero fares on their entire transit systems or on specific routes. They hope eliminating the fare will attract ridership while also reducing boarding times at stops.
"I have worked here at CIRTA for 10 years and every single day our agency gets calls from people in the region that are saying, hey I have a job but I have no way to get there," Jennifer Gebhard the Executive Director of CIRTA said. "Inflation costs are still high. We know there is a demand for people to get out there for these jobs, so with this I am hoping it will make it easier for them and get more people riding the bus as well."
According to CIRTA, The workforce connector buses complete about 100 trips a day for both Plainfield and Whitestown. For riders like Anderson, he hopes more people who work in the area become aware of the service. It's something he feels could help people keep their job when they are faced with a transportation issue.
"Most people that work out here in Plainfield live in Indianapolis,” Anderson said. “If their car goes down that means their job is pretty much going to go down and that's why the hiring rate is so high out here. If their car goes down now, they are looking for a whole new job in a different city rather than using the Plainfield Connector that's here for them."
The one-dollar fee will be eliminated starting on January 2nd. Rides will remain free for the entirety of 2024.
The Plainfield connector bus connects with IndyGo route 8 and the Whitestown connector bus connects with IndyGo route 37. The Workforce Connectors operate six days a week. Both routes depart from the Carson Transit Center in Indianapolis at 5:10 a.m. and run until approximately 7 p.m. For more information click here.