Category Archives: Press Releases

Moving Michigan forward

New transportation coalition, unprecedented in breadth, kicks off campaign to boost communities, economies with connected, convenient choices

April 7, 2011

Tim Fischer, MEC:  734-255-9206
Arnold Weinfeld, MML: 517-230-8071
Rick Chapla, Right Place: 616-443-6053

Making Michigan’s towns and economies more robust through transportation policy reform and smart investments in roads and bridges is the ambition behind Transportation For Michigan (Trans4M). The new coalition was announced today during a statewide telephone press conference.

 “This coalition is dedicated to establishing public policies that enable more frequent, reliable and affordable transportation options and smart, effective prioritization of upkeep for our existing roads and bridges,” said Dan Gilmartin, executive director of the Michigan Municipal League.  “To be competitive, Michigan must recognize the vital role that these services play in our economy and our quality of life.”

The broad-based Trans4M coalition partners include nonprofits, businesses, policy makers, environmental groups, planners, academic institutions and others.  It comes at a crucial time for Michigan as the state retools its beleaguered economy in the midst of rising gasoline prices and declining revenue for road repairs and improvements.

“Now more than ever we have to be strategic and smart with every dollar we invest,” said Rich Studley, chief executive officer of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “Maintaining our current roads and bridges, and providing options for people who want to become less dependent on gasoline and personal vehicles are key strategic goals for our state.”

Surveys consistently show that having reliable, affordable transportation options is a key factor in attracting and retaining jobs and talent. More than three-quarters of New Economy companies rated access to efficient public transportation as an extremely important factor in selecting corporate locations according to a recent survey by Jones Lang LaSalle, a financial and professional services company.

“Becoming more diverse, more flexible and more resilient in our economic foundation and in our transportation options is essential if we are to compete for future jobs and prosperity,” said Gilmartin. “Connecting our communities to each other, and workers to jobs, is both an economic and quality of life imperative.”

Transportation for Michigan intends to work with local, regional, state and federal decision makers to create strong transportation systems that will energize the state’s economic recovery. Priorities may include:

  • Supporting adequate and targeted investments in the state’s existing roads and bridges
  • Supporting Gov. Rick Snyder’s transportation budget recommendations for the Comprehensive Transportation Fund
  • Securing state legislative approval for matching funds that will leverage $161 million in federal dollars for high speed passenger rail projects along the Detroit-Chicago corridor
  • Creating regional transportation authorities to connect people and communities with multiple travel options

Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council, said the coalition’s goals make both economic and environmental sense.

“Moving people more efficiently reduces our dependency on fossil fuels and lessens the public health impacts caused by their emissions,” said Kolb. “Smarter transportation options mean more vibrant, more livable, healthier communities and a stronger economy.”

Trans4M will be adding organizations to its membership roll in coming months. Current members include:  Community Economic Development Association of Michigan,  Detroit Branch NAACP,  Disability Advocates of Kent County, Gamaliel of Michigan,  Land Information Access Association, Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, Michigan Association of Planning, Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan Land Use Institute, Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Suburbs Alliance, The Right Place, Inc.,  Transportation Riders United


Indian Trails extends service in Flint, Chicago




Indian Trails extends service to Bishop International Airport, Union Station Chicago

OWOSSO, MI – Indian Trails’ motorcoach service throughout Michigan and the near Midwest has been expanded to two new locations: Flint’s Bishop International Airport and Union Station Chicago.

Beginning April 4, 2011, four daily trips will be made between Flint’s Bishop International Airport and points north (Saginaw, Bay City, Alpena, the Upper Peninsula) and west (Owosso, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, etc.).

Coaches will arrive at Bishop at 10:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. from the west and at 1:30 and 4 p.m. from points north.

Coaches depart to points west of Flint at 10:45 a.m., 1:30 and 4 p.m. – and to points north at 3 p.m. daily.

Coaches will depart and arrive at the east end of the terminal, from the MTA bus stop.

“This extension of service expands area access to Bishop International Airport, providing connectivity from rural areas to a major air hub,” says Gordon Mackay, president of Indian Trails. “Using a motorcoach to reach the airport also reduces energy consumption and hydrocarbon pollution. It’s a win-win.”

Airlines available at Bishop are Air Tran, American, Continental Connection and Frontier.

Also beginning April 4, 2011, all Indian Trails arrivals to Chicago will offer service to Union Station Chicago.

Coaches will arrive at Union Station at 2:25, 5:50, 8:35 and 11:15 p.m. CT daily, delivering passengers to the east side of Canal St., 300 feet south of Jackson Blvd.

Connections will be available to Amtrak service (to Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis and New Orleans), to MetraRail commuter trains throughout the Chicago suburban area, and to CTA trains to O’Hare and local points within the city.

More local service information is available at and at

Indian Trails, Inc. operates one of the largest and newest fleets of deluxe motor coaches in Michigan.

Services include charters, tours, shuttles, airport transfers, casino runs and daily scheduled routes throughout Michigan and into Chicago as well as Milwaukee.

The Michigan Flyer Motorcoach Service offers seamless connections and affordable service to Detroit Metro Airport from Lansing, Jackson, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.


Amtrak marks 16 straight months of ridership growth

Increasing gasoline prices contribute to record February

From an Amtrak press release

WASHINGTON – February marked 16 consecutive months of Amtrak ridership growth and was the best February on record with 2,099,010 passengers.

“The ridership increase shows the continued popularity of rail travel and the need for continued investment in passenger rail service,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.  “We anticipate demand for rail travel will increase with the rise of gasoline prices, and Amtrak is prepared to be there for passengers who want to leave the car behind.”

This strong performance is part of a long-term trend that has seen America’s Railroad set annual ridership records in seven of the last eight fiscal years, including more than 28.7 million passengers in FY 2010. 

Specifically, there was a 7.6 percent increase in riders in February 2011 vs. February 2010, or more than 147,000 passengers.  The 16 straight months of ridership growth spans from November 2009 to February 2011 and averages a 6 percent growth rate over this period.

Factors that are contributing to the success of Amtrak include a moderately improved economic environment allowing some recovery of business travel along the Northeast Corridor, sustained high gasoline prices, the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel, effective marketing campaigns, and the introduction of Wi-Fi on the high-speed Acela Express trains.  

The highlights below compare the first five months of current FY 2011 (October 2010-February 2011) to the same period during FY 2010 and show increased Amtrak ridership across the country from coast to coast.

East Highlights
The high-speed Acela Express service continued its popularity with a ridership increase of 9.7 percent in the Boston-New York-Washington corridor.  Amtrak’s state supported Adirondack Service (New York City-Montreal) saw a 9.3 percent hike and the Piedmont service (Charlotte-Raleigh) experienced a significant gain of 101.8 percent following the introduction of an additional round-trip frequency last summer.  In addition, Virginia routes had sizable gains with Washington-Lynchburg at 28 percent and Washington-Newport News at 16.8 percent.

Central Highlights
The Chicago hub experienced steep ridership gains as led by the Blue Water (Chicago-Port Huron) at 26.4 percent.  In addition, the Chicago-Pontiac Wolverine Service was up 18.1 percent, the Chicago-Carbondale corridor up 16 percent, and the Chicago-St. Louis corridor was up eight percent.  Also, the Missouri River Runner (Kansas City-St. Louis) experienced a 14.6 percent gain and the Heartland Flyer (Oklahoma City-Ft. Worth) was up 8.8 percent.

West Highlights
In California, routes experienced gains including the Capitol Corridor service (San Jose-Auburn) with 8.4 percent and the Pacific Surfliner service (San Luis Obispo-San Diego) with 6.1 percent growth.

National Highlights
Among the long-distance Amtrak trains, the Cardinal (New York-Chicago) had the largest increase of 17.1 percent.  Other long-distance trains with strong gains were the Palmetto (New York-Savannah) at 16.6 percent, the Sunset Limited (New Orleans-Los Angeles) at 12.6 percent, the City of New Orleans (Chicago-New Orleans) at 10.9 percent, and the Lake Shore Limited (New York-Chicago) at 10.6 percent.

About Amtrak®:
Amtrak is America’s Railroad, the nation’s intercity passenger rail provider and its only high-speed rail operator.  A record 28.7 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in FY 2010 on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces.  Amtrak operates trains in partnership with 15 states and four commuter rail agencies.  Amtrak also is a strong financial performer achieving an 85 percent cost-recovery ratio in FY 2010.  Enjoy the journey at or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information.  Join us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at

Amtrak ridership and revenue soar on Michigan routes

From a Michigan Department of Transporation press release

January 24, 2011 — Ridership and revenue soared on Michigan’s three Amtrak routes during the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The strong performance indicates that more passengers are becoming aware of the convenience and good value of rail travel. In addition, Amtrak is managing their fleet differently and has added rail cars to the Wolverine and Blue Water routes, which means more seats for passengers.

In figures for the 2010-2011 fiscal year first quarter (October – December), 130,683 passengers rode Amtrak Wolverine service trains on the Pontiac/Detroit-Chicago corridor, an increase of 22.7 percent from the same period a year earlier. Ticket revenue was up by more than 26 percent to $4,949,889.

The Blue Water train on the Port Huron/East Lansing-Chicago route saw an impressive 29.5 percent increase with 46,272 passengers using the Amtrak service. Ticket revenue was up by 25.7 percent to $1,454,500. In December, records indicate that the Blue Water surpassed four million riders since it began in 1974.

Ridership on the Pere Marquette train on the Grand Rapids-Chicago route experienced improvement too, with a 7.8 percent increase in passengers to 25,916 and a 14.1 percent increase in ticket revenue of $801,219. These numbers are likely lower than the other increases because of the move of the New Buffalo station from the Pere Marquette to the Blue Water and Wolverine in 2010.

Overall, these percentage increases were among the best in the nation on Amtrak corridor services.

“Amtrak travel offers good value and mobility. It is a transportation option that Michiganders have grown to appreciate,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “The interest and publicity about high-speed rail has also played a role in the increased growth of train travel in Michigan.”

Amtrak operates the Blue Water and Pere Marquette trains under a contract with MDOT. Amtrak does not receive any direct state support for the Wolverine. Michigan is one of 15 states that provide state-supported service.

For a Station Activity Summary Report that shows individual station statistics, go to the MDOT Web site for details:, then Rail & Public Transit, Rail Links.


Contact: Contact:  Janet Foran, MDOT Office of Communications, 

MARP to present awards at first ever meeting in the Upper Peninsula

PRESS ADVISORY                                                                              16 September 20010

John DeLora, Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers, 313-575-6608
Kay Chase, MARP Communications     269-903-8071
Harry Gow, Transport Action Canada
Chad Cushman, Indian Trails, Inc.     800.292.3831 ext. 200

 The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP), a passenger train advocacy group, will honor a homegrown motorcoach service and a Canadian advocate for sustainable transportation at the group’s first ever meeting in the Upper Peninsula taking place at the recently opened St. Ignace Transportation Center.

MARP is presenting its Special Achievement Award to Indian Trails, Inc., on the occasion of its 100th birthday. The company was founded as Phillips-Taylor Livery Service in 1910 by Cora and Wayne Taylor of Owosso and remains a family owned business. With facilities in Owosso, Kalamazoo, and Metro Detroit, Indian Trails employs 135 people and provides passenger services throughout all of Michigan, carrying one million passengers and traveling four million miles annually.

 “Despite the railroad in our name, MARP supports and promotes bus service for Michigan travelers and that is why we are pleased that Indian Trails has expanded its services to the citizens of our state,” says MARP spokesman Jim Wallington. “It now goes to Sault Ste. Marie and Newberry and connects residents throughout the Upper Peninsula to Amtrak trains at Flint, East Lansing, Kalamazoo and Milwaukee.”

 John DeLora, MARP Chairperson, adds, “Indian Trails has proven itself not just as a quality intercity and charter bus operator, but as a true pioneer in intermodalism. They provide connecting service to other bus lines, to airports and to Amtrak trains. This type of thinking about public transportation as an integrated system provides the public with more transportation options at a reasonable price.”

 Harry Gow, Founding President of Transport Action Canada (formerly Transport 2000 Canada), will be honored with MARP’s International Friendship Award for his decades of work on behalf of consumers of transportation services and for promoting sustainable transportation options through advocacy and education. Gow has provided recommendations for numerous City of Ottawa transportation plans. He is President of le Conseil regional de developpement durable de l’Outaouais (CREDDO) [Regional Council For The Environment And Sustainable Development] and a board member of les Transports Collectifs des Collines.   [photo attached]

 Gow retired in 2001 from the University of Ottawa where he was Field Placement Coordinator at the Department of Criminology. He resides in Chelsea, Quebec, where he works as a consultant for a rural community transit agency.

 “It is no exaggeration to say that the expansion of public transportation in Canada is largely based upon the foundation laid by Harry Gow’s work,” says DeLora. “His knowledge and the accuracy of his work are truly a resource not just for Canadians, but for the U.S. as well. He has long been an advocate of seamless, convenient cross-border transportation, which is something close to my heart as well.” 

 Gow will provide an update on recent developments in Canadian passenger trains, and on service to the border cities of Sarnia and Windsor. Also on the program is a short presentation by St. Ignace resident Judy Gross on history of passenger trains in the St. Ignace area.

 The meeting will take place at the St. Ignace Transportation Center, 700 U.S. Hwy 2, beginning at 9:30 am. The public is welcome.

The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers, Inc. (MARP), is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation established in 1973 to improve passenger train service, travel conditions for passengers, and to work for the preservation of historic rail stations. The organization has more than 300 members statewide, publishes The Michigan Passenger quarterly, and maintains a website at  

Contact: Kay Chase, Communications Coordinator (269) 388-3777 or

Transport Action Canada, founded in 1976 as Transport 2000 Canada, is a non-profit, consumer-based organization whose primary purpose is research, public education and consumer advocacy. It promotes environmentally-sound transportation solutions and is actively involved in a wide range of issues such as: public transportation, safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, protection of the environment, intermodal cooperation and government regulation.

Contact: Harry Gow, Media Relations Officer   (613) 594.3290   or email 

Indian Trails, Inc. operates one of the largest and newest fleets of deluxe motor coaches in Michigan. Services include charters, tours, shuttles, airport transfers, casino runs and daily scheduled routes throughout Michigan and into Chicago as well as Milwaukee.  The Michigan Flyer Motorcoach Service offers seamless connections and affordable service to Detroit Metro Airport from Lansing, Jackson, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.

Contact:  Chad Cushman    800.292.3831 ext. 200    or email