Travel To and From Airports in a Green Fashion
The Green Shuttle, which celebrates its fifth year of operation this month, began when founder Dean Athanas endured a frustrating ride to the airport.
“Ten years ago 99 percent of executives got to the airports in town cars,” Athanas said. “The waste bothered me because when these cars pulled up, only one or maybe two passengers got out.”
After Athanas retired, he decided to act on his feeling about the need for an environmentally friendly “limo” solution and started the Green Shuttle. The Green Shuttle delivers passengers from most parts of eastern Massachusetts to Logan, TF Green or other airports and locations in the area. They also frequently shuttle busy executives to Manhattan while they work.
Reservations are easy to make online through the Green Shuttle website and customers without an advanced reservation can book a trip by visiting Twitter. Since cars sometimes travel empty for half the trip, either for pick up or drop off, the drivers post their availability on Twitter. Riders that need a car for that time slot can contact drivers directly and reserve a ride.
Picking up these “unassigned” rides can also save money if it works out that a car is available to meet a traveler’s schedule. Commuters can save 30 percent off the website’s published price list and can select from a hybrid Prius, Altima or Mercury Mariner.
Along with his pride in providing excellence in service, Athanas is an innovator offering free in-car Wi-Fi and iPads for customer use.
“The iPad is incredibly popular with our clients,” Athanas said. “We have a bunch of neat applications so passengers can check email, flight status, play games or just read a magazine. Apple found out about what we are doing and gave me a call to learn more.”
Another exclusive service innovation is the Green Shuttle’s online calculated pick-up time.
“Go to the website and book a trip and our booking function calculates your pick-up time,” Athanas said. “I love to talk to my customers, but I don’t want people to have to pick up the phone; we don’t live in a phone world, we live in an internet-based world.
“I want all of the details to be available for completion online. Once you make a reservation, the site will tell you when we’re going to pick you up and it will allow you to adjust that time if you fly frequently and want something different. We always plan to get people to the airport an hour and a half before their flight.”
Even with all of the technological advances the Green Shuttle offers and the dedication to superb service, Athanas is committed to keeping prices lower than the competition.
“We tend to be 10 percent less in price than the traditional limo services,” Athanas said. “We are not charging the so-called ‘green premium.’ Businesses have a saying that if you are green, you can charge more. My question is how on earth can we charge more if we get more miles to the gallon?”
Although Athanas sees many more companies starting similar limo services, he celebrates the competition and only hopes the movement to environmentally friendly cars grows.
“People call me in an outrage about copycat companies and I’ve got the biggest smile going,” Athanas said. “Isn’t that what we want? As far as I’m concerned, God bless them. It’s a good thing. Part of our mission is to enlighten people.”
~ Aditi Pai