LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Commuters who travel between Southern Indiana and Louisville will soon have a new option for dealing with traffic congestion during Ohio River Bridges Project construction.  

According to a news release, TARC will begin operating an I-65 express route connecting Sellersburg and downtown Louisville on Jan. 27, using eTran commuter coaches funded through the Bridges Project.  

The commuter coaches, designed to provide a more comfortable, productive ride, offer free wi-fi onboard, outlets for charging phones and other mobile devices, and overhead storage. 

Commuters from Southern Indiana can use a park and ride lot at Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg, 11 miles north of downtown just off Exit 9 on I-65.  In downtown Louisville, the route will make several stops for access to central business and medical center locations, with connections to other TARC routes. The service will provide four morning and four afternoon round trips. 

"Commuters can think of the eTran commuter coaches as their mobile work space, rather than sitting in their cars frustrated with traffic congestion," said J. Barry Barker, TARC executive director. "This route is designed both for Southern Indiana residents working downtown and Kentucky residents attending Ivy Tech."

"This new service and the eTran coaches are a good fit for our regional community and economy and will help students and employees stay connected, productive and learning while on the go," said Mayor Greg Fischer.  

TARC Board Chairman Cedric Merlin Powell said the new service "is the result of TARC's partnership with the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for enhanced bus service during the Bridges Project construction.  This new route also would not be possible without the support of Ivy Tech Community College whose generosity in providing the park-and-ride lot is greatly appreciated." 

Ivy Tech "is excited about partnering with TARC to offer this service to our students, faculty and staff," said Chancellor Rita Hudson Shourds. "This new Sellersburg route will not only be a valuable resource for our campus community, but it will provide the entire region with another option for making their commutes easier and more productive during bridge construction".

Express one-way fare on the new route is $2.75 cash or commuters can purchase a pre-paid monthly express pass for $85, offering unlimited rides on all routes.

The new commuter coaches are part of TARC's eTran (Enhanced Transit) program, a $30 million investment in public transportation.  The program includes $20 million in funding provided by the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet as part of the Bridges Project. 

"It's not just roads and bridges that make our transportation system strong. It's the coordination of all our transportation tools," said Andy Barber, KYTC's project manager for the Bridges Project. "A more robust transit system with additional park-and-ride lots and expanded routes will help people during construction and for years to come."

"Linking Ivy Tech Sellersburg with Downtown Louisville via enhanced transit not only improves cross-river transportation for commuters but provides improved access to education, two very important objectives for Indiana and the Bridges Project," said Jim Stark, INDOT Deputy Commissioner for Innovative Project Delivery.

Over the next four years, TARC's eTran program will result in a modernized and more environmentally friendly fleet, upgrades to bus stops, new Park'n'Ride locations, adjustments to routes and improved communications technology for sharing information with riders. TARC also recently debuted a new mobile website that includes trip-planning software powered by Google, mobile-friendly maps and schedules, rider alerts and more.

Maps, schedules, trip planning, pass purchasing and more information is available at www.ridetarc.com.

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