superbad wrote:more than competetive with driving and road tolls
the skyway bridge alone is $6 if you drive a round trip.. if you drive from south bend you have that+ the barrier toll+ the distance tolled section of tollway.
Tolls from South Bend West: $1.55/$2.50 to Portage Barrier, $0.50/$1.25 Westpoint, $3.00 Skyway for a four wheel vehicle (IZoom vs Cash rates). A round trip would be $10.10 on the IZoom or $13.50 Cash. Parking at Millenium Park (Randolph St) is $19 for up to eight hours ($22 for up to 12, $24 for up to 24 hours). East Monroe is one block east and is $14 for up to 12 hours. One carload travels and parks for $29.10/$32.50. The trip is 92.5 miles one way by road - at 20 mpg and $2.99 it would be $27.65 for gas (round trip) or $56.75.
One adult travels the South Shore Line from South Bend to Randolph St for $10.75 ... $21.50 round trip. Two people $43.00. Children would be $10.70 round trip each. The mythical family of four would cost $64.40. Competitive?
One is not required to take the Indiana Toll Road. SR2 and US20 are four lane mostly divided to Michigan City the I-94 runs right into the heart of Chicago. The distance is a little further but the tolls can be avoided. Downtown parking is the worst part of the equation. I really miss the cheap meters near Randolph St and the free pre-911 parking near the station (now posted no parking - and yet cars still park there).
Drive to East Chicago Station and you can cut 20 miles off the driving each way ($6 round trip), $7 off of the round trip tolls and $19 for parking. $32 off the driving cost to add $4.75 each way per adult on NICTD. The family of four would travel for $28.40 round trip. (Competitive.)
Two or less would be cheaper on the South Shore Line ... hopefully the train meets your schedule. The new schedule is certainly better for late evening returns.