May 31, 2019

New York Startup To Pilot Indianapolis-Chicago Bus Service

OurBus operating in Ithaca, New York. - SM3544/CC-BY-SA-4.0

OurBus operating in Ithaca, New York.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A New York City-based startup will soon be testing a daily bus service between Indianapolis and Chicago that could replace an Amtrak train service destined to end at the end of June.

OurBus will offer the round-trip bus service from July 1 through Labor Day, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

The pilot project comes after Indiana lawmakers discontinued funding for Amtrak's Hoosier State passenger line in the new state budget. The train also stops in Crawfordsville, Lafayette, Rensselaer and Dyer.

Amtrak plans to abandon the passenger line June 30, when its $3 million annual state subsidy ends. The national rail carrier's service between the cities will still be available through the Cardinal line on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, as part of a Chicago-to-New York City route.

Bus operators MegaBus, Greyhound and Miller Transportation also offer services between the cities.

Axel Hellman, co-founder of OurBus, said the company plans to monitor interest before deciding whether to continue the service after the pilot.

The startup will charge a $10 introductory rate before raising fares to between $25 and $35, Hellman said.

The company will also consider adding stops along the route if at least 100 people make the request and the location is feasible, he said.

"Some of the smaller towns, college towns and suburban markets are what we're going for," Hellman said.

OurBus, which doesn't own a fleet of buses, plans to contract with Gold Shield Transportation in Indianapolis. The startup handles routes, scheduling, ticket sales and customer service, while contracting with local providers who supply buses and drivers.

The company, which launched in 2016, coordinates up to 20 routes in the northeast, two in Texas and one in Florida.

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