Crusader staff report
The popular Lakeshore South 24 bus route on the Gary Public Transit Corp. system is in jeopardy of being cut.
Budget woes are forcing Transit officials to consider reducing the service or eliminating it altogether. A community meeting was scheduled for Thursday, July 6 at the Adam Benjamin Jr. Gary Metro Center to discuss a reduced schedule in September, and possible elimination in December. Officials said the meeting aims to begin conversations with Hammond, Highland and Munster about contributing funding.
The Lakeshore service was established in 2014 after the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority folded, leaving riders with no service in Hammond. Today the Lakeshore South bus route has 13 stops. Transit officials say the Lakeshore South route takes hundreds of passengers to Purdue University Northwest and other destinations in Hammond, Highland and Munster.
One transit official said in a news report that the Lakeshore route serves 2,000 riders a month, most from the Hammond-Highland area. There have been inquiries about extending service to north Hammond and Whiting. The GPTC’s original plan for the Lakeshore South was to expand it to maintain the Lakeshore route service and to expand to Hammond and Whiting. But now, those plans are in jeopardy.
One transit official said a lack of local revenue leaves GPTC with no money to fund the route in the Hammond area. The GPTC reportedly has eliminated a second bus on the Lakeshore Connection service, which will move to a two-hour schedule between downtown Gary and downtown Hammond, in September.
Already weekly service on the Lakeshore South route has been suspended from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and after 6:30 p.m. on weekdays. Saturday service on the bus route has also been suspended.