They had been batting around the idea for years: How could they simplify travel to nearby airports for Kamloopsians?
But now that Greyhound services are ending on Oct. 31, Gretchen and Kent Zirnhelt's idea for an airport shuttle service could expand to fill a larger role, if there's enough local demand for it.
"Probably for years now, my husband, my brother-in-law and I have been discussing the fact that we love to travel and we hate that we have to pay so much more for all the extras," says Gretchen. "It would be so nice to have somebody else just take me there. It's something we've joked about for the last few years, and now that Greyhound has shut down, it's kind of put a little bit of flame underneath us. It's like, wait a minute, more people are going to need this service, not just to the airport. Why don't we see how many people would use it? Let's see what this would look like. So that's where we're at."
The idea for Super-G Shuttles is simple to start. They would offer a round-trip shuttle service to the nearby Kelowna and Vancouver airports, so people can access international flights hassle-free. Once they get this service off the ground, Gretchen says they'll look into offering other options, like taking people to and from concerts, for example. They would also look at offering services to other communities, like Revelstoke.
Gretchen has a background in hospitality and is currently working as a nurse, and Kent has his Class 1 licence, but this would be their first time operating a transportation business. Currently, they have drivers on hand and contacts ready to sell them a 12-person passenger van. Now, it's just a matter of figuring out if there's enough appetite for it.
"I'm not going to make an $80,000 purchase without knowing if this is going to work," says Gretchen.
Her definition of working is not a particularly lofty goal. She says to break even, they'd need their daily van trips to be filled 50 per cent of the time, but at the start, they're not even aiming that high.
"We're looking to provide a service that is needed, so if we can even get close to filling the van 50 per cent of the time, we'll move forward on making this move."
Rates are still be worked out, with $50 per person currently advertised on their Facebook group. The Kamloops couple is still working on what group rates and family rates will look like, as well as how the rates will change by destination.
Super-G is planning to start with one van, making a maximum of two round-trips a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. They're eyeing a launch in January of next year.
If you'd like to take part in their polls and weigh in on the potential shuttle service, reach out to them on Facebook.