Students at Iowa State University are being offered a chance to take a train and avoid planes and automobiles to get home for the holidays. Amtrak is offering a bus service to take students from the Ames campus to their station in Osceola. Amtrak spokesman, Marc Magliari, says it’s a test.

“This is an entrepreneurial experiment where we’re looking to see if we offered bus service on a more regular basis between Ames and Osceola how much more business it would attract,” Magliari explains.

This experiment targets the students heading home for the holidays. “The buses will be operating to and from our train, the California Zephyr, for six days — three in December, three in January — timed around  the end and beginning of school terms at Iowa State,” Magliari says. The company believes the option will be of interest to students. “As you look at some of the numbers, fewer and fewer people, 17, 18 and 19-years-old going off to college even have driver’s licenses, much less cars,” according to Magliari. “So, they are looking at other ways to get to and from.”

The service will run December 18th through the 20th and January 11th and 13th.”We’ll sell you the bus segment and the train segment together when you go to Amtrak-dot-com or if you call 800-U-S-A-RAIL or stop by one of our staffed ticket offices,” Magliari says. He says the bus and train trips from Ames or Des Moines to Chicago start at $61 and to Denver start at $98. Magliari says they’ll evaluate the service and see if it is something they might keep or expand in the state.