The Payson Express shuttle service which served as a quick connection to the Valley for local businesses, airline travelers and Phoenix-area visitors has closed down and is up for sale.
"We hated to quit, but we just have so many things going on in our lives right now we couldn't continue," said Patricia Myers, co-owner of the operation with her husband, Karl. "We really feel like we're letting people down, but there was really nothing else we could do. We've been trying to sell the business for a year now so we could move to southern California."
The business which is primarily an eight-passenger van, radio communications equipment and client list is currently listed for sale at $25,000 through ERA Young Realty in Payson.
Payson Express customer Bill Saba of S.W.J. Tires and Auto Repair said he's worried the company's closing will raise his shipping prices.
"We used them about once or twice a week during the winter, and quite a bit more in the summer to transport tires and parts that aren't available up here," Saba said. "Payson Express was really handy, especially if you needed something delivered in one day.
"Now we'll either have to do it ourselves or use UPS, which comes to a little more money that will have to be passed on to the consumer," Saba said. "With UPS, you almost always have a C.O.D. charge, which is about (six) bucks. And no matter what you're shipping, it's at least $11 per item on top of that, and around $30 if it's a tire.
"Payson Express wouldn't normally charge you over $15 or $20, even if they were bringing you two or three parts from the same location. The price was still the same."
Payson Regional Medical Center regularly used Payson Express for supply deliveries from the Valley, said Russell Judd, CEO of Payson Regional Medical Center.
"We have so much stuff coming up from Phoenix that we saw using them as a way to support the local economy," Judd said. "But there are still a number of ways we can still get those materials from the Valley to Payson."
One of those ways is through another Payson-based shuttle and delivery service, High Country Transportation. The two-van operation, owned by former Payson Express employee Andrea Smith, continues to make package deliveries to and from the Phoenix area at a cost of $25 for up to two parcels and $5 for each additional parcel. High Country also shuttles Paysonites to Sky Harbor Airport, charging $30 per person for one-way treks and $50 round trip.
White Mountain Stage Lines, headquartered in Show Low, stops at the Wash Tub laundromat en route to Metro Phoenix at 10 a.m. every day but Sunday to pick up people and packages.
While stops at Sky Harbor will be discontinued in July, the bus stops at White Mountain's Phoenix depot one mile from the airport for $22 per person each way, One-way trips to Mesa's Greyhound Park are $19.