new bus service

One of Bestway Charter Transportation's buses with an ad about its new service between Champaign-Urbana and the Chicago suburbs is shown in front of the Levis Faculty Center on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana.

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BENSENVILLE — A Bensenville-based bus company recently launched a service taking students between the Chicago suburbs and Champaign-Urbana.

Bestway Charter Transportation is selling $20 tickets at bus2champaign.com, giving Peoria Charter more competition after Suburban Express shut down earlier this year.

“It’s been in the works for a couple months,” Office Manager Kristi Lichtenberger said. “As far as when we started doing runs, I believe last week we did a couple.”

She said Bestway didn’t add service to Champaign-Urbana because Suburban Express shut down.

“We’re doing it to promote ourselves as a business,” Lichtenberger said.

Suburban Express shut down in May after it was sued by the Illinois Attorney General for alleged discrimination and harassment of its customers.

Bestway used to subcontract for Suburban Express, but Lichtenberger said it is no longer affiliated with Suburban Express in any way.

Bestway is a family-run business that was founded in 2002, she said.

“We do a lot of corporate events. We do transfers,” Lichtenberger said. “We go all over the United States.”

With $20 tickets for one-way trips, Bestway is priced about $11 less than Peoria Charter.

Bestway currently has stops at the Illinois Street Residence Halls in Urbana, the Art Van Furniture store near Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Old Orchard Mall in Skokie and Oak Brook Mall.

“We’re hoping to get a stop in the south suburbs,” Lichtenberger said.

Bestway also only offers rides on the weekends, with trips to the suburbs on Thursdays and Fridays and trips back to C-U on Sundays and Mondays.

Peoria Charter has 10 daily trips to and from Chicago, with three stops in Champaign and eight in Chicago and the suburbs.

With Bestway, “the runs are nonstop,” Lichtenberger said, so customers are taken right to their destination with no intervening stops.

“We’re just trying to establish credibility down there, taking it day by day,” she said.