Royal Excursion, the new company that plans to replace the bygone Indiana Airport Supersaver buses to O'Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway International Airport, is finalizing the logistics of the new routes to get Northwest Indiana residents to Chicago airports.
"We are finalizing contracts for customer parking locations and installing our ticketing management software," Royal Excursion owner and president Shannon Kaser said. "We will release our schedule and our start date soon."
The Mishawaka-based bus company, which also provides charter bus and motorcoach services across northern Indiana, aims to start running shuttle buses from South Bend and the Region to O'Hare and Midway. The hope is to have the same stops in Michigan City, Portage, Highland and Crestwood that the the Indiana Airport Supersaver did before Coach USA ceased its operations at the beginning of the year.
“We know the route between Northwest Indiana and Chicago is vital for many of our neighbors and that is why we are working quickly to earn all of the necessary approvals to ensure a safe, comfortable and affordable travel option," Kaser said. "We have already made a significant amount of progress in securing a multitude of consents in a very short time and are pleased to say we are ahead of plan. We will have further details regarding schedules, locations, and costs very soon.”
Northwest Indiana has enjoyed shuttle bus service to O'Hare and Midway for nearly a half century. Countless residents have relied upon it as a more economical alternative to long-term parking at the airports, and some people even use it for more relaxed commute from their homes in Northwest Indiana to jobs at the airports.
John and Margaret Schoup first launched Tri-State Coach Lines to O'Hare and Midway in the 1970s, but the business changed hands multiple times over the years before it was acquired by New Jersey-based Coach USA in 2002.
Variant Equity Advisors, a private equity firm that specializes in corporate divestitures, bought Coach USA for $271.4 million in April and soon decided to end the Indiana Airport Supersaver and the Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co., which offers bus tours of landmarks in the Loop in downtown Chicago.
The national SuperShuttle airport bus service also was recently shuttered by another private equity firm at a time when more people are using ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to get to and from the airport.
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