Getting Around Indianapolis: Guide to Public Transportation

Indianapolis.
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It’s easier than you might think to navigate the Circle City. The IndyGo public transportation system has recently introduced Red Line rapid transit buses to get people around more easily than ever. Plus, ride-hailing services are plentiful, dockless electric scooters abound, and electric cars are available to rent. Here are some options to help you find your way around town quickly and conveniently.

How to Ride IndyGo

Since 1975, the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (more commonly known as IndyGo) has been operating Indianapolis's public bus transit system. IndyGo offers 31 fixed routes, which crisscross the entire city and make it simple to find your way wherever you choose to go.

The new Red Line rapid transit electric buses are the latest addition to the IndyGo fleet, traversing a 13-mile north/south route from Broad Ripple through downtown to the University of Indianapolis campus. The innovative vehicles that populate the line offer onboard bike storage space, public WiFi access, and phone-charging outlets. The Red Line operates from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. Rides arrive at platformed stations every 10 to 20 minutes.

To board an IndyGo bus that is not on the Red Line, you will need to have exact change for a single two-hour ride (including transfers), which costs $1.75. Alternatively, you could ride with a bus pass. The 1-Day pass costs $4.00, the 7-Day pass costs $20.00, and the 31-Day pass costs $60.00. Or, you can get 10 trips for $17.50. You can buy your pass online here.

If you're riding the Red Line (or you don't want to deal with the hassle of change and day passes), IndyGo has recently introduced MyKey, a tap-and-go reloadable card. Passengers can buy these fare cards at any ticket vending machine for a one-time fee of $2 each. Or, use the MyKey app for digital access with no additional fee. You will need to add a minimum of $5 in order to purchase. You can use MyKey on all IndyGo routes, including the Red Line. Don't forget to validate your card before boarding the bus.

For a complete system map, schedules, fares, and other information, visit the IndyGo website.

Bikes

Recently expanded to now include 50 stations, 575 bikes, and five new adaptive-use bicycles, the Pacers Bikeshare system offers grab-and-go two-wheelers throughout downtown and across the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Riders can purchase an annual pass for $80 that allows for unlimited 30-minute rentals; or they can pay by the ride, which costs $1 to access the bike plus 15 cents per mile. Before you hop in the saddle, you’ll need to take care of business via an app or at any bikeshare station kiosk. Bikes are available to rent 24/7, and they can be picked up at and returned to any dock space.

In addition to a Pacers Bikeshare station, the historic Indianapolis City Market also houses the Indy Bike Hub YMCA, a fitness-oriented facility featuring the first secure indoor bicycle parking garage in the country, as well as a full-service bike shop, locker rooms, and showers. The goal of the whole operation is to encourage and support a community of dedicated local bike commuters. 

Car-Sharing Services

Depending on where you’ll be staying and where you want to go during your Indy sojourn, you may not need to rent a car at all. Though if you do need to borrow some wheels for a short trip, you can always seek out a BlueIndy car. You’ll find small collections of the blue-and-white electric vehicles scattered within city limits at designated parking spots and charging stations. Subscription packages allow for daily, weekly and yearly rentals; drivers must be at least 18 years old with a valid U.S. driver’s license and a major credit card. Simply subscribe, grab a car from a station, and return it to any BlueIndy location when you’re done. 

Ride-Hailing Services

Indianapolis maintains a full range of ride-hailing services including Uber, Lyft, taxis, shuttle buses and limo service for private rides and carpools. 

Electric Scooters

Lime, Bird, and Spin dockless electric scooters have arrived on the streets of Indy to equal parts delight and frustration, prompting the city to create new rules and regulations governing their use. Safety remains the top-of-mind issue; users must ride on streets and in bike lanes, but not on sidewalks. You also risk a fine if you happen to park in restricted areas or block sidewalk ramps, private driveways, or parking spaces. Several scooters have fallen victim to vandalism and have ended up in the downtown Canal. Still, many riders find them a convenient option for short-range local commutes or to fill in the gaps between IndyGo route stops. 

To rent an electric scooter, riders must download an app first. After scanning a QR code to unlock the vehicle, they can start it up using a throttle to activate the electric motor. After a $1 initial charge, rides are calculated by time of use (usually around 30 cents per minute) until the passenger stops the timer via the app. 

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick

When it launched in 2013, this world-class bike/pedestrian path broke new ground as one of the most ambitious urban improvement projects of its kind in the United States. The $63 million-trail covers 8 miles in total, linking five distinctive downtown cultural districts—Mass Ave, Fountain Square, the Canal and White River State Park, Indiana Avenue, and the Wholesale District. It also connects to the popular Monon Trail, built atop a former railroad line for access north to Broad Ripple, Carmel, and points beyond. Along the Cultural Trail, innovative public art installations, colorful murals, public gardens, and green spaces offer plenty of eye candy, not to mention contemplative food for thought. Several guided tour options are available including food-themed excursions that pit stop for samples and tastings at some of Indy’s best restaurants. 

Getting to and From the Airport

If you’re flying in or out of town, navigating from the Indianapolis International Airport is simple via public transportation to downtown and other points throughout the city. Fourteen miles southwest from downtown via I-70, the Indy airport itself has been rated the best mid-sized airport in the country by J.D. Power for its accessibility, outstanding terminal facilities, and ease of use. Transportation options available to and from the terminal include a variety of car rentals, BlueIndy stations, regularly scheduled IndyGo bus service, Uber and Lyft, taxi service, shared and private limo services, and courtesy hotel shuttles. For more information, visit the Guest Services desk in Civic Plaza just behind the ticketing hall. 

Tips for Getting Around Indianapolis

  • Research public transportation options before you arrive in Indianapolis to determine the best choices based on your budget, location, and personal preferences. Reservations may be needed in some cases. Download any apps you might need and make sure you know how to access and use them. 
  • Keep an eye on the forecast, as inclement weather may affect public transportation schedules and availability. It’s probably safe to assume you won’t want to ride a bike or electric scooter in pouring rain. If the weather’s bad, a network of skywalks connects the Circle Centre Mall, many hotels, the Indiana Convention Center, and Lucas Oil Stadium, so you never even have to worry about setting foot outside.
  • The downtown region is easily walkable and generally very safe, but it’s always smart to take common-sense precautions after dark. 
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