INDOT takes stab at privatizing Amtrak route

2014-04-02T09:00:00Z 2014-04-02T17:51:13Z INDOT takes stab at privatizing Amtrak routeBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

The Indiana Department of Transportation has put out an open-ended request for proposals to privatize all or part of Amtrak's Hoosier State train service between Chicago and Indianapolis.

INDOT issued the request in conjunction with seven local communities that have subsidized the route since last fall, when its federal subsidy was withdrawn.

The goal of the request is to increase the number of passengers on the train and decrease operating costs by opening the operation of the train to competition from private operators in addition to Amtrak, according to a prepared statement from INDOT on Wednesday.

The train stops in Dyer and Rensselaer locally and terminates in Indianapolis. It runs four days per week. Another Amtrak train operates on the route three days per week and proceeds on from Indianapolis.

INDOT and participating local communities are paying a $2.7 million subsidy to Amtrak to keep the Hoosier State running through this fall.

Bidders can choose to bid on providing only part of the services provided by Amtrak or even come up with new ones, such as Wi-Fi on trains or food service, according to the request for proposals.

INDOT said no disruption in the current service is expected as a result of issuing the request for proposals and tickets can still be bought for the Hoosier State through Amtrak.

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