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Shuttle buses to O'Hare, Midway to shut down Dec. 31; 150 people to lose jobs

Shuttle buses to O'Hare, Midway to shut down Dec. 31; 150 people to lose jobs

Indiana Airport Supersaver to O'Hare and Midway to shut down at end of year

For more than 40 years, Coach USA has been providing  transportation to Midway and O’Hare airports. That ends at the end of this year.

Coach USA North America is shutting down the Indiana Airport Supersaver buses to O'Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway International Airport, which thousands of Region residents have regularly used for decades when traveling out of town.

Northwest Indiana's airport shuttle bus service, which is cheaper than long-term airport parking or ride-hailing services, is ending after more than 40 years. Residents in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties will be forced to find new ways to get to Chicago's airports for vacation, business travel or other trips.

"It is with great sadness that Coach USA Chicago announced today the plan to cease operations for our Chicago Trolley and Indiana Airport Supersaver businesses," said Sean Hughes, director of corporate affairs at Coach USA North America. "We will continue to operate sightseeing, charter and airport services until Dec. 31."

An estimated 150 bus drivers and other employees will lose their jobs, including about 15 at the bus stop with long-term airport parking at 8144 Indianapolis Blvd. in Highland.

"Coach USA thanks all of our Chicago and Indiana employees for their valued contributions over many years to the operation of these businesses," Hughes said. "Megabus operations will continue to utilize the Chicago location as they do today. Additionally, Megabus will serve the University of Notre Dame to and from O’Hare and Midway airports on the weekends and major school breaks."

The shuttle bus service made stops at the University of Notre Dame, the South Bend Regional Airport, the LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Marquette Mall in Michigan City, the corner of Central and Irving in Portage, and bus stops in Highland and Crestwood. The Airport Supersaver buses took travelers to terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5 at O'Hare, as well as to Midway.

In recent years, the bus service has faced increased competition from ride-hailing apps like Lyft and Uber, which are more costly but offer travelers who don't want to drive themselves to the airport more flexibility and convenience. Uber formally launched in the Northwest Indiana market in 2015 and Lyft in 2017.

The bus service also started serving Valparaiso in 2017 but ended that service after about a year after difficulty finding drivers and concerns about its reliability. Questions were raised about the Airport Supersaver's viability last year after sporadic and unannounced cancellations.

Highland Clerk-Treasurer Michael W. Griffin said the closure would not have a significant impact on the town's tax base but said it would be mourned.

"No one takes any pleasure in news of a business closing," he said. "I worry about its employees facing this so close to the holidays. I valued its proximity and convenience — having used its services a time or two myself."


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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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