With the holiday season here, local shuttle and package services have been as busy as Santa's elves.
While Payson Express, the company that provided shuttle service to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport for some 20 years, is no longer in business, two local shuttle companies High Country Transportation and Portal to Portal are currently providing airport passenger service.
High Country, which has been in business for 18 months offers door-to-door service between Payson and the Valley and local taxi service, operating three vans on a flexible schedule built around passengers' needs. Owner Andrea Smith says the holidays have come just in time to give her company a much needed boost.
"We've taken a pretty good hit since Sept. 11, because the brunt of our business is airport transportation," Smith said. "There was a spell there where people were cancelling left and right, but it's starting to come back now."
She says the big difference in travel patterns since the terrorist attacks is that people are now making "more short-term plans, as opposed to long-term."
High Country operates three vans seven days a week, but will not be running on Christmas day. A one-way trip to the airport is $40, with a round trip costing $75.
The other airport shuttle is Portal to Portal People and Package Porters, owned by Doug Stotko. His company, which has been operating since April, offers airport and door-to-door service between Payson and the Valley on a set schedule.
The Portal to Portal van leaves Payson at 8 a.m. and picks up at Sky Harbor no later than 2:30 p.m. seven days a week, but is also closed Christmas day. One-way airport fare is $30, round trip is $50, and seniors get a $5 discount.
White Mountain Passenger Line out of Show Low also serves Payson, but does not go to Sky Harbor Airport or provide door-to-door service. Stops in the Valley include the Mesa Greyhound depot and White Mountain's own depot at 319 S. 24th Street in Phoenix.
The White Mountain van picks up passengers at Payson Laundry around 10:05 a.m. daily except Sunday and returns to Payson around 3 p.m. A one-way adult fare to Phoenix is $22.
While both High Country and Portal to Portal take reservations, White Mountain operates on a first-come, first-served basis only. Other White Mountain stops include Kohl's Ranch, Christopher Creek, Forest Lakes, Heber, Overgaard, Taylor-Snowflake and Show Low.
The Rim country's newest transportation company does not provide passenger service. Rim Country Courier picks up and delivers documents, mail, packages, parts, even groceries daily except Sunday, co-owner Michelle Kudlicki said.
Besides Payson and the Valley, Rim Country Courier's service area includes Globe, Strawberry/Pine, Tonto Basin and Rye. The three shuttle companies also provide package delivery service.