Fall 2017 SAVI Online Magazine Emagazine Fall 2017 FINAL - Page 8

“There are jobs out there without people, and there are people without jobs. And transit is really the connector between those two. I don’t think folks who have other means really appreciate how valuable it is to those of limited means in finding work and making an income and gaining financial stability.” Polis’ report showed that half of all riders fall into a group that is employed full time and uses the bus daily to get to work. One of six riders in this group said that their trips to and from work would not be possible if the bus were not available. Public transit has benefits, too, that go beyond strictly economic factors, Taylor says. It plays a vital role in allowing people to get to medical appointments, or buy groceries, or “just to see each other and have a social life.” For Denise Smith, who lives on the near-west side and is a small- business owner, IndyGo allows her to keep up a busy schedule of volunteer work at organizations across the city. She sold her car nearly two years ago, and now she walks or rides her bike when she doesn’t take the bus. Or she combines those options. “I’ll walk a mile or two to catch the bus, and then take it where I’m going,” she says. “It’s less stressful not having a car—I don’t have to worry about looking for a place to park, or what that funny sound is in my car. And I’m healthier and have lost a lot of weight.” In light of her own experience, Smith believes that public transit can be a big win-win. Increasing people’s awareness promises benefits for both riders and local nonprofits, 8 especially given the improvements being phased in over the next few years. “People think taking the bus is for going to school and going to work,” she says. “They don’t think about it for going other places, like for volunteering. I think organizations Public transit offers an affordable alternative for getting around town for not only work or school, but for medical appointments, volunteering, and social activities. IndyGo’s improvements and expansion plans are expected to increase the attractiveness and viability of use, putting Indy more in line with other cities regarding options that reduce traffic congestion.