The Hoosierist: The Third Degree

Meteoroligist credentials, bus schedules, and downtown hotel rooms. Ask The Hoosierist.
Q: How much training does a TV weather person need?

A: In theory, pretty much anyone can do the weather. And back in Old Timey Times, pretty much anyone—including David Letterman—did. These days, however, pushing a loud blazer–wearing yahoo in front of the green screen won’t cut it. “TV stations want someone with a degree,” says Jay Trobec, the American Meteorological Society’s commissioner of professional affairs. “Especially if they’re in a severe weather market.” That’s why a quick inspection of the weather teams at Indy TV stations reveals nary a single on-air staffer lacking an atmospheric-science sheepskin. If you live in a tornado-infested area, you want someone who can tell an isobar from an ice cream cone.

Q: I’ve been thinking about taking the bus to work. How on-time is IndyGo?

A: Let’s just say that if you showed up tardy as often as city buses do, you’d probably get canned. IndyGo “boasts” an overall on-time rate of 76 percent. When it comes to timely service, some routes are better than others. Things generally run more smoothly on high-frequency lines such as College Avenue, where buses are spaced at 15-minute intervals. “Even if a bus is late, you’re not going to be any more than perhaps five minutes late, because there are so many vehicles on that route,” says IndyGo community engagement specialist Lance Boehmer. Yes, the uncertainty sounds frustrating. But try to remember that public transportation is prone to the same issues that snarl auto traffic: weather and wrecks. “That’s a burden that you can’t predict with 100 percent accuracy,” Boehmer says.

Q: It seems like some developer announces a new downtown hotel every month. How many rooms do we have now?

A: If you’re talking about hotel rooms that are either connected to or within walking distance of the Indiana Convention Center, you’re looking at 7,100. If you include all of the rooms in Marion County, the tally swells to around 33,000. Which means that if Hobart City (estimated population 29,059) wanted to crash with us for a while, Indy could accommodate every single one of its citizens without having to break out the hideaway bed. That sounds impressive, but it pales in comparison to top-tier convention and tourism heavyweights. For example, Chicago offers some 108,000 hotel rooms; Orlando, 120,000; and the grand champion, Las Vegas, roughly 170,000. In other words, enough to put up the towns of Carmel and Greenwood for what would truly be a legendary weekend rager.