Gary bus service expanding into Hammond
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent March 6, 2014 9:10PM
A GPTC Route 18 bus drops off senior Kadeza Glover, 18, (left) and junior Ateeva Knox, 17, at 45th and Broadway as they make their way to Lew Wallace STEM Academy in Gary, Ind. Friday September 14, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media | File Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
For more information and detailed routes, visit www.GPTCbus.com. For the Lakeshore South route, see “Alignment C” under the heading Tri-City Study Information. For the former Tri-City Route, now called the Lakeshore Connection, see “Alignment A” under the same heading.
Updated: April 8, 2014 6:44AM
GARY — The Gary Public Transportation Corp. voted Thursday to expand its services into Hammond, with plans to start a route to points in the city’s southern half and also to modify an existing route.
GPTC officials also said they want to expand into Hammond’s northern reaches, but they will need about $70,000 — and a little help from Hammond and Whiting — to make it happen.
The new Lakeshore South route, which will begin May 5, will be a double-loop and will begin at the corner of Hohman Avenue and State Street in Hammond and wrap around to a number of sites, including Purdue University Calumet, the Wal-Mart and Food4Less stores on 165th Street and St. Margaret Hospital.
It also will go into parts of Highland and Munster.
The route will cost about $140,000, with half picked up by the federal government and the rest from fare boxes, grants and other sources, said David Wright, director of planning and marketing.
A ride on the Lakeshore South route will cost $1.60, while rides on the Tri-City Route, which will be renamed the Lakeshore Connection, will cost $2.25. The Lakeshore Connection modifications will add sites and will not affect any service in Gary, Wright said.
It will access Ivy Tech Community College and the East Chicago South Shore train station.
The Lakeshore South route beat out two alternatives, and it drew support from a packed house.
“I’m delighted at this possible plan,” said Mary Lee Vance, a Hammond resident and administrator at Purdue University Calumet. Vance said a physical disability forces her to rely on public transportation, family and friends.
“It’s badly needed in the city of Hammond and by students at Purdue Cal.”
The new route makes GPTC as close to a regional transportation system as the area has seen since such service was discontinued two years ago, but a funding shortfall kept the corporation from approving a Lakeshore North route.
“So, essentially, $71,000 is the one thing that will stop the staff from recommending the northern feeder, as well,” Wright said.
One GPTC rider, Gary resident Cora Robinson, applauded the new route and asked why Hammond and Whiting have not yet contributed to expanding services farther north into their cities.
“I think that’s kind of pitiful, when it’s their community and they’re not offering anything,” Robinson said of Whiting and Hammond.