KOKOMO, Ind. — A higher-than-expected number of Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region students are using City Line, the city of Kokomo’s recently developed public transportation system. Based upon the college’s observations and city records, an average of 74 students used the service on a daily basis from Jan. to Oct. of this year. It’s estimated that students used the service more than 14,000 times overall during the same time frame.
“From inception, we anticipated Ivy Tech students would generate ridership. However, that number has far exceeded our expectations. Right out of the gate, Ivy Tech students embraced the trolley system. Although we do not break down our stats by stops, we have transported 14,651 student trips since January 2011. I’m confident in stating a majority of those trips are to and from Ivy Tech,” said Tammy Corn, director of senior services and transportation for the city of Kokomo.
The trolley stop location has worked out well for Ivy Tech’s Kokomo campus, allowing both students and the trolley itself to have easy access to the campus’ main building. The trolley stop is only 100 feet from the main building and 150 feet from Morgan St.
As a result of federal assistance, enclosed shelters will soon be constructed at some of the route’s busiest stops. Ivy Tech’s location qualifies for this assistance. This grant funding means there will be no expense to the college for installation and maintenance of the shelter. Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region Executive Director of Facilities, Mike Karickhoff, says the grant requires the city of Kokomo to obtain an easement for the location of the shelter.
“The city attorney has prepared an easement that is acceptable to the college. This easement will allow for the shelter to move if future college development makes the current location ineffective. The new shelter will provide a more comfortable location for students to wait for transportation,” said Karickhoff.
Willard Hall, a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for public transportation, says ridership for the entire system, not just Ivy Tech’s stop, averaged 853 riders per day in the month of October in 2011 with a high of 1,155 riders one day. Hall says the system had 141,768 riders in its first year of operation from inception in Sept. 2010. As ridership increases for Ivy Tech, more stops could be added to campus in the future.
“We’re looking at the possibility of expanding the route now that we have a bigger footprint here especially with the Kokomo Event and Conference Center. That, however, would require more buses,” said Hall.
The committee is looking at the possibility of expanding the route and expanding stop times to someday cover more area and operate with expanded hours, but Hall says definite plans aren’t in place yet.
“The city is also budgeting funds to help support it now that it is up-and-running, while still being able to maintain that it remains free for the riders,” said Hall.
Hall says the city initially received a federally-funded mass transportation grant for $407,000 to buy buses and get the system up-and-running. The next grant is expected to increase to $508,000.
The shelter at Ivy Tech’s trolley stop could be completed by the end of the year, although no definite date has been scheduled. The original concrete slab began as a project in the spring of 2010. Ivy Tech’s trolley stop began operating the same day City Line started running on Sept. 7, 2010.