Have you heard? There’s an exciting new way to explore Indianapolis! After years of planning (and a long construction season), the new rapid transit bus system known as the Red Line is open. And while you might think that riding the IndyGo’s Red Line with kids is a little intimidating, you don’t need to worry at all.
This fun and family-friendly way of getting around town is perfect for adults and kids whether you live around the corner or are visiting the city for the first time. Here’s some helpful info to get you started as you and your family climb aboard the Red Line.
Red Line Information for Families
How much does it cost to ride the Red Line?
Regular rides are $1.75 per person, however, kids under age 18 can be half-price. But…you’ll need to head to the ticket office at the downtown transportation center to get a special ID card for your kids. The system is in the process of relaunching so you’ll want to call before you arrive to make sure they’re ready with the new system before you head down. Eventually you’ll be able to pay with your smart phone or a fare card so you don’t have to use cash.
Where can I park for the Red Line?
Obviously if you’re close enough, you can walk but sometimes that’s not an option with little ones. There is no official parking lot for Red Line riders so you’ll need to find street parking along the route or on a nearby side street. So far, we haven’t had a problem doing that but you’ll want to look up a couple of spots as you’re planning your route.
What’s the Red Line schedule?
You can see the official daily schedule for the Red Line at IndyGo’s website. Google Maps also pulls the same data for its transportation feature so you can use that as well. As the new system is getting up and running, we’ve found the times to be off somewhat but I expect that to continue to improve as time goes on. The most up-to-date information is available on the My Stop app.
Where does the Red Line go?
Here’s a map for the full route that runs from Broad Ripple to University of Indy.
Tips for Riding IndyGo’s Red Line with Kids
Use the MyStop App to cut your wait time
Buses can get a little off schedule so if you’re riding with kids and don’t want to wait a long time make sure to download the MyStop app and select the Red Line. Then you can click on your stop and see a schedule for the time for next expected bus.
Ride at non-peak times at first
The buses have been super popular so far so if you don’t want to find yourself with standing room only, try to make your first ride at non-peak times to ensure you can grab a seat and enjoy the ride. The MyStop app also shows how many riders are on a bus so you can get an idea of how full it is.
Know Your Route
The speaker system isn’t always very loud or timed quite right so make sure you have some idea of what your route is before you board. So far, there are not maps onboard the bus to help you keep track of stops so you may want to download or pull up the map on your phone. I’d also recommend knowing which stop is right before yours so you can use one of the signal buttons or yellow cord to alert the driver you’d like to stop.
Plan for some extra time
So far my experience has not been that the Red Line is super speedy. My guess is that it will improve as time goes on and they can perfect the timing of the lights and routes, but for now, plan a little extra time into your travel especially if you’re trying to make a specific show or reservation.
Teach Your Kids Bus Etiquette
Riding public transportation is a whole new world for most kids so it’s helpful to go over a few things with your kids ahead of time and to help them know what to expect. My kids needed some practice with waiting on the platform behind the yellow safety area, staying seated or standing still on the bus, and keeping their bodies to themselves as we rode. All totally normal kid stuff, but it’s easy to forget that a brand new environment means their curiosity and excitement can get the better of them.
Skip the Stroller if Possible
So far it seems like baby wearing is easier than strollers, although I saw lots of those too. Just be aware that you may have to fold up your stroller if it’s very crowded and the area for strollers and bikes is not near any seating. Update: per IndyGo’s rules, strollers must now be folded before boarding.
No food or drinks without lids
In an effort to keep the buses clean there is no food allowed on the buses and they ask that you keep a lid on all drinks. If you’re planning a longer ride, you might want to pack a bottle of water. The buses can get warm when they’re busy, and my kids both complained of thirst when we were riding home.
Red Line with Kids – Public Transportation in Indianapolis
We’ve already taken several trips on the Red Line and love the way it’s connecting our city in a new way. It’s family-friendly and a great way to experience the city of Indianapolis whether you’re a resident or visitor. Don’t be afraid to make a bus ride the adventure of the day as you hop on and see the city in a whole new way!
Need some ideas of where to stop on the Red Line? Check out my ideas for things to do in Downtown Indianapolis with kids.
Have you ridden the Red Line with kids yet? Any tips to share on making it easier for families? Leave your best advice below!