INDIANAPOLIS — IndyGo will soon launch its new way for passengers to pay for their ride. You could call it a game changer for bus rider and bicyclist Nick Robertson.
"I don't carry a lot of cash. I almost charge everything. So, if I thought I need to take the bus I have to plan ahead, and I have to make sure I have a couple dollars in my pocket," said Robertson.
With IndyGo's new MyKey system there's less fumbling around with cash and coins, you can pay for your ride with an app on your phone or the tap of a card. It'll make life easier for Robertson who, when he's not working from home due to the pandemic, tries to travel as light as possible since his commute downtown is half bike ride, half bus ride.
"If I had MyKey, and had a pass loaded up, just ready to go, and click right up when I get on the bus, or on the platform, I think that would make a difference for me," said Roberston.
If you think you've heard of MyKey before, you have. The concept caused issues during the launch of the Red Line last year. Delays from the vendor Flowbird Group kept IndyGo from being able to collect fares on the new rapid transit route until a temporary system was put in place. With vendor issues resolved, IndyGo is ready to launch the new system in early 2021, hopefully speeding up service on all local and red line buses.
"We are so excited about this! Speeding up boarding, it's a more convenient service for our riders and it also helps us to get better information about where people are boarding the bus, what their trips look like," said Faith Chadwick, Public Information Officer at IndyGo.
Every tap of the card or click of the phone feeds IndyGo's operating budget, of which 10% comes from bus fares. That's a smaller amount than usual, because of the pandemic. The rest of the budget is filled out by federal and state funds. But as riders like Robertson start riding the bus again, they'll be greeted with new technology.
"Having ridden other transit systems that have had this operation for a while, it was a bit of a change to come back here and have to fumble through quarters again," said Robertson.
After the new MyKey system is rolled out, IndyGo will still accept cash and coins. As for the new system, WRTV reached out to the vendor Flowbird Group to see how they resolved the issues but did not hear back.
Despite the setbacks from late vendors and the pandemic, IndyGo's ridership is climbing back up.
In October ridership was up to 467,453 trips, which is down from the 926,158 trips made in October 2019; But up from April 2020 when stay-at-home orders knocked ridership down to just 281,060 rides.