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Kokomo Expands Free Bus Service

There’s more than one way to get around the city of Kokomo.

According to the City Parks Department there are 43 miles of designated bike lanes and walking trails.

Kokomo also features a free bus system which was recently expanded to service Kokomo High School and the Kokomo Housing Authority, among other stops.

Mayor Greg Goodnight says the bus service is going to stay free to riders because of federal grants, matched by $1 million from the city’s budget.

 “It is the largest, ‘free to the rider’ public transportation system in the state,” Goodnight says. “It’s hop on – hop off. You don’t have to have a token or a ticket or any type of pass to ride.”

Goodnight says he can’t rule out the eventual implementation of fees, but he hopes to the keep the buses free for as a long as costs allow.

Kokomo Director of Transportation Tammy Corn says the free bus is needed because while the bus stop at Ivy Tech Community College is the busiest, the buses also serve a large number of lower and middle income residents.

“It’s the reason they’re getting to the doctor’s offices instead of the emergency room. It’s the reason they’re getting to the grocery stores to get groceries instead of to the Village Pantry,” Corn says.

Kokomo was awarded the federal grants because of an increase in ridership. Corn says the grants should be renewed unless ridership goes down – and she doesn’t expect that to happen any time soon.

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