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Last updated: Thu. Jul. 03, 2008 - 10:39 am EDT

Shuttle to offer round-trip service to Indy airport

Indiana Flyer is marketing to business travelers.

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Riding The Indiana Flyer

The cost is $130 round-trip for the first two passengers in a group, $86 for a third, and $65 each for the fourth and additional passengers. Runs leave the company’s office at 4023 Transportation Drive at 6 and 8 a.m. and 2 and 5 p.m. For more information, call 515-2417 or visit www.theindianaflyer.com.

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After 28 years of business travel, John Fyfe and Laura Boger are making travel their business.

Next week their new company, The Indiana Flyer, will start offering shuttle rides from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis. They’re marketing to business travelers flying out of the Indianapolis airport, but the shuttles also can stop at downtown or popular shopping locations in Indianapolis, depending on customer demand.

Fyfe, who along with Boger worked at North American Van Lines in Fort Wayne, said his travel-heavy schedule, including many weeklong trips out of Indianapolis, inspired them to offer an alternative way for companies to send employees to Indianapolis.

“You could hire a limo company, or there’s Greyhound. There’s not much in between,” he said. For a price of $130 round-trip, The Indiana Flyer could become that midpoint. (If more than two passengers on the same itinerary and the same payment ride the Flyer, additional passengers in the group pay lower rates.) Their financial case for a $130 ride to Indianapolis and back goes like this: Consider the cost of mileage – 50.5 cents per mile at Fyfe’s most recent job – combined with $60 or more for long-term parking for a week.

“My company was at the $220 mark to compensate me for driving to Indianapolis,” he said.

Although they will offer shuttle service on weekends, hoping to attract leisure travelers, neither Fyfe nor Boger argues that price alone can sell leisure travelers or families who can drive themselves to Indianapolis for about $50 round-trip, even with today’s soaring gas prices. But among the other benefits: The Indiana Flyer has room for about 50 customers to park for free in a fenced, security-monitored lot beside the firm’s office at 4023 Transportation Drive.

The company will operate four scheduled departures daily Monday through Friday between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis International Airport, with three departures on Saturdays and Sundays. The weekend schedule will include drop-offs at various locations around the Indianapolis area, including, but not limited to, Keystone and Circle Centre.

The company’s two air-conditioned, late-model Dodge Sprinter vans offer seating for up to nine passengers and feature WiFi connections.

Theirs is not an unprecedented idea. Twenty-five years ago, Indiana Motor Bus Co. started offering four daily buses to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. It faced competition not only from Air Wisconsin flying out of Fort Wayne, but also Amtrak passenger runs.

Amtrak and the bus service are long gone from Fort Wayne, but Fort Wayne International still has flights to Chicago and other Midwestern hubs.

Kristina Holmes, community and government affairs manager for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, says the airport still stacks up as strong competition for shuttles to other airports.

While The Indiana Flyer might offer a less-expensive alternative than paying mileage plus parking, it may not be as attractive an alternative when travelers “add the cost of the shuttle and airfare from Indianapolis to spending five hours in a car with strangers,” Holmes said.

For now, Fyfe and Boger intend to do most of the driving themselves, but they also have three part-time drivers available.


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