NW Indiana regional bus service to end this weekend

June 29, 2012 (HAMMOND, Ind.)

The Northwest Indiana Regional Bus Authority was formed to coordinate public transportation. The RBA's executive director says Hammond funded the lake transit system for two years but other jurisdictions are not agreeing to future funding.

"The biggest concern are the elderly, the folks in the disability community that have no options for transit. That's the hardest part to deal with because it leaves them without having any options to get to medical or shopping or even work related," said Tim Brown, executive director, Northwest Indiana Regional Bus Authority.

The Easygo Lake Transit has four routes, mostly through Hammond, with 30,000 rides per month. In addition there are 1,500 paratransit rides. All those rides end this weekend. The last buses will roll into Rabin Transit Plaza Saturday at 9 a.m. when the Easygo Lake Transit System shuts down.

"I don't know how it got to this point," said Keith Burks.

"I don't know what the heck is going to go on. Hopefully they will find a way to keep it going, but it don't look like it. It's a shame," said Dan Liptack.

The administrator of the paratransit service, which was also slated to end this weekend, told ABC7 Friday afternoon that they have secured emergency funding to continue the paratransit service through July. So the 500 people with disabilities enrolled in their program will continue to have service until then.

" I'm trapped. I've never felt like a caged animal but I'm afraid. And I'm trapped," said Nancy Ebert, paratransit rider.

"For people that don't want the public transportation, they can get themselves up in the morning, shower themselves, dress themselves, walk out to their vehicle, whethere it's a car, SUV, whatever, and they can drive themselves wherever they want to go, wherever they need to go. I cannot do that," said Mary Inch, paratransit rider.

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