While many cities throughout the nation charge for bus service, others, including East Chicago, stand out for their ability to offer complimentary bus service.
The complimentary transportation provided by East Chicago Transit was started in 1973 by then Mayor Robert Pastrick’s administration. Every administration since has decided to keep the complimentary service, which offers fixed route and paratransit buses.
In 2013, about 183,000 people rode on fixed route buses, while about 7,200 people rode on paratransit buses, said Frank Rosado, transit director for the city of East Chicago. Funds to operate the service come from federal and state grants, as well as local money.
“Residents really appreciate the fact that it’s a free service,” Rosado said. “It gets them around town and allows them to get to one of our local shopping centers.”
East Chicago Transit provides three fixed routes including Route One – Griffith Plaza, which travels to the shopping center that includes K-Mart. Fixed routes also include Route Two – Crosstown and Route Three – West Calumet.
The paratransit service is offered for individuals who are not physically able to use the fixed route services. Riders must fill out a paratransit application to determine eligibility to use the service.
Rosado said he has heard residents say that even if East Chicago did charge for the service, many wouldn’t mind paying.
The bus service is a true benefit for locals, because according to Rosado, East Chicago is only one of two cities in Indiana that offers a complimentary bus service.
“We are very few in the country,” he said.
Additional information including transit policies and route information is available here.