Beacon Benchmark: #TrashTagChallenge just means busing somebody else’s table

The Beacon is traveling around Bloomington by public bus this summer, as a way of trying out Bloomington Transit’s new smartphone passes.

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A grabber-claw device similar to the one used by The Beacon to clean up the alley connecting 6th Street with Kirkwood just west of Washington Street.

I made one trip on Route 3 to complete an errand to Bloomington Hardware. There I purchased a gadget for grabbing things at a distance. The business end is a kind of claw that closes when you squeeze the lever in the handle.

The three-foot long device was planned for picking up trash in the downtown alley that runs north-south between 6th Street and Kirkwood Avenue. Continue reading “Beacon Benchmark: #TrashTagChallenge just means busing somebody else’s table”

Beacon Benchmark: Busing it around Bloomington

Note: Beacon Benchmark columns are a way for the B Square Beacon’s writer to give readers some regular behind-the-scenes insight into this website, which aims to serve some of the news and information needs of Bloomington, Indiana.  

Yesterday marked what I hope will be the start of a month of daily rides on a Bloomington Transit bus. What’s the occasion?

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A 31-day smart phone boarding pass purchased through Token Transit. Showing the BT driver this display, which includes some dynamic elements, gets a passenger onto the bus. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

For one thing, July 1 is the beginning of the month. It’s also the beginning of the state of Indiana’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30.

So it’s a good time to start something.

Why start riding the bus every day? It is a fair question, especially because I can’t ride the bus every day in July. On the Fourth of July, BT bus service is not available.

I will need to find a different way to make my way out to the Monroe County fairgrounds on July 4, to watch the rodeo that’s being put on by the International Professional Rodeo Association.

Readers who are familiar with the BT system know there’s no bus stop at the fairgrounds. But a Route 4 bus will get you to the intersection of SR 45 and Curry Pike.

From there, it would be about a mile and a half to the fairgrounds. That distance I can cover in just a few minutes by bicycle—if I load my two-wheeler into one of the racks on the front of the bus. That’s something I’ll have to try on a different day from the Fourth. Continue reading “Beacon Benchmark: Busing it around Bloomington”

Bloomington bus riders to get smartphone ticket option starting July 1

Riding the public bus in Bloomington will get a bit easier starting July 1.

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On July 1, 2019, Bloomington Transit will be rolling out the Token Transit app. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

For most Bloomington residents, boarding the local public bus is already easy. It just means flashing the right ID card at the Bloomington Transit driver. About three quarters of all BT riders can board the bus because they have the right ID card—one that proves affiliation with Indiana University as staff or student.

Those rides are taken at no cost to the rider—but the university pays about $1.1 million a year to cover those trips.

The convenience for IU affiliates is not purely financial—it’s also the option to board a public bus with an object they nearly always have handy.

Starting July 1, rank-and-file residents who aren’t affiliated with the university will enjoy a similar kind of convenience, if they generally carry a smartphone. Continue reading “Bloomington bus riders to get smartphone ticket option starting July 1”