INDIANAPOLIS — IndyGO is planning to reopen the Julia M. Carson Transit Center after two years of being closed to the public.
"I've been commuting off of IndyGO since the 1960s. When the bus was running on an electrical trolley," Buford Stokes said.
Stokes loves Indianapolis, and IndyGO -- especially the transit center.
"It bears the name of the Honorable Julia M. Carson. And she holds a special place in my heart for a long time now," Stokes said.
Over the last two years, the center has been closed. Riders have had no access to the restrooms or the air conditioning. Stokes wears a back brace and had knee replacement surgery. Walking around downtown looking for a restroom is painful.
Carrie Black, a spokesperson for IndyGO says the center was closed in the early days of the pandemic. Employees were moved from other IndyGO sites into the Carson Transit Center to allow for distancing. Those new additions put the building at capacity, and it wasn't safe to also allow the public inside.
"We had to temporarily close our lobby and our restrooms to the public for the safety of our team members who work and go through that building each and every day," Black says.
After two years, Stokes is at his wit's end.
"It's not a lot we ask from IndyGO. It's not much. Just treat us as human beings, and your brothers and sisters, your neighbors. And we give you respect in return," Stokes said.
Back in April, WRTV reported that IndyGO had no timeline to reopen the center. But that has now changed.
"We've been hearing the complaints. We've heard the frustrations, and we understand them," Black said. "We are looking at days now, no longer weeks or months, before we will be reopening the Carson transit center lobby and bathrooms."
That piece of good news is all Stokes needed to hear.
"Over the last 2-3 years, we've all been through a lot. Some more than others. It took them long enough, but the only thing I can say now is a job well done, IndyGO. Let's all be happy and be friends," he says.
Black says that IndyGO plans to announce a reopening date in the coming days. Once the center does reopen, guests will be asked to limit their visits to 30 minutes. This should allow for distancing, and to give others a chance to spend a bit of time indoors.