It's called Illini Express. It has no affiliation to LEX other than sharing the company's old phone number. It also is not a bus company. The owner says it's like a ticket broker, similar to Ticket Master, but for buses.
Customers can arrange for a trip and Illini Express would find them the right bus or charter for it. Ever since LEX shut down, other companies have tried to fill the gap it left behind. Some added routes to and from Champaign-Urbana. And it's those same companies that Illini Express would coordinate with. The owner says his role is a middle man; not an actual operator for a bus service.
"None of the buses that would be on the road would be my bus. I would have no operating authority. It would all be chartered by other companies, and they would take care of the Department of Transportation rules, their insurance, driver's qualifications, maintenance qualifications, books," said owner Bob Frazier.
Illini Express isn't selling tickets yet. Frazier says he still trying to get everything squared away with the Department of Transportation. Ideally, he says the business would be running by the start of the next school year.
A lot of his customers are college students, most of whom are gone during the summer. Now although LEX is shut down, Frazier says it's not gone for good.
He says he's still working with the transportation department to save the company. Frazier turned in a plan on how to fix the violations in December. He says it's still being reviewed.