INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools is launching a two-year pilot program that will give all its high school students free access to the city’s transit bus system in an effort to cut the district's transportation costs.

Beginning Aug. 5, students can opt to ride the city's IndyGo buses instead of the district’s yellow buses to get to and from school, according to the district’s website. The pilot program will cost approximately $75,000 for the 2019-20 school year, and then $160,000 for the 2020-21 school year, according to a project report presented to the district's board of commissioners on July 25.

In 2018, Indianapolis Public Schools and IndyGo partnered for a pilot program encouraging students from Shortridge and Arsenal Technical high schools to use the city’s public transit buses, according to a guide about the program. Now, the pilot will include students from those schools as well as students from Crispus Attucks, George Washington, and KIPP Legacy high schools.

Each of the student’s ID cards, according to the report, will be embedded with a free electronic IndyGo pass that will also allow students to commute year-round to and from work and extracurricular activities. In addition to the IndyGo pilot, the report states that the district will continue to provide school bus service for the 2019-20 school year; however, service may be reduced by the 2020-21 school year.

Dennis Tackitt, the chief of transformation for Indianapolis Public Schools, told the district’s board of commissioners, according to WFYI, that the pilot program could help eliminate the district’s high school transportation costs, which are currently about $12 million per year. He also said, according to the news source, that using IndyGo as the district's source for high school transportation would cost an estimated $500,000, or $100 per high school student.

For more information about the pilot program, go here.

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Sadiah Thompson

Sadiah Thompson

Assistant Editor

Sadiah Thompson is an assistant editor at School Bus Fleet magazine.

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