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HOBART | Hobart residents who work or play in Chicago may have an alternative way to commute there by later this month or early October, said A.J. Bytnar, city planner.

Plans are moving forward with the city of Hobart to form a transportation partnership with Valparaiso, which operates a daily express service named the ChicaGo Dash.

"The last component is finalizing the funding and finishing the lease for the property where the bus stop will be. ... We're working out the mechanics since it's a Hobart, Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana Regional Bus Authority partnership to make sure everyone's interests are covered," Bytnar said.

Bytnar hopes a trial run for commuters could be ready by later this month or early October.

"We're looking forward to going forward on this. But if we're going forward, we want to make sure we do it right the first time," Bytnar said.

Valparaiso has been operating the ChicaGo Dash service since 2008, said Tyler Kent, transportation planner for Valparaiso.

The service begins at Franklin House restaurant in Valparaiso with scheduled departures at 6, 6:40 and 7:15 a.m.

Commuters are dropped at Financial Place and Van Buren Street, LaSalle Street and Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street, Kent said.

The buses leave from Chicago at 3:30, 4:40 and 5:25 p.m.

Kent said the Chicago-bound buses head down Ind. 130, which runs through Hobart, so that is where Hobart commuters would catch their ride.

Hobart officials earlier this spring took a survey of Hobart residents to see how many were interested in taking a commuter bus to and from Chicago.

The residents' responses, a total of 723 received, were analyzed by the Community Research and Service Center at Valparaiso University.

Of that total, 220 individuals said they commute at least several times a month to Chicago for either work, school or another purpose.

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