Operator Deploys Ford Flex As Town Car Alternative

Posted on December 9, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

NORFOLK, VA — Carey Transportation of Virginia added six 2010 Ford Flex models to its Airport Connection service at the Norfolk International Airport on Nov. 15.

While not verified, the operator appears to be the first chauffeured transportation company in the U.S. so far using the Ford Flex for livery service.

Carey owner Stephen Story said the Flex vehicles so far have seen brisk demand given its advantages: lower cost, lower profile, ample luggage room because of the “station wagon” body design, and the same legroom as a Lincoln Town Car Executive L. The Flexes replace a fleet of Ford Crown Victorias.

The six Ford Flexes were added as Carey marks the third anniversary of its Airport Connection service at NIA, which is the largest commercial airport in Virginia with the exception of the Washington, D.C. area airports: Dulles International in northern Virginia and Reagan National in Arlington, Va.

Sales of the Airport Connection service are up about 10-15% year to date, despite the fact that overall airline passenger traffic at NIA is down 6-7% this year, Story said.

A typical Ford Flex rate for one passenger traveling from downtown Norfolk to NIA is $24, compared to the $90 rate for a Lincoln Town Car Executive L, Story said. The Flex also is ideal for ride-sharing, with each additional passenger costing $5 with a maximum of three passengers per Flex.

Five of the six silver-colored Flexes bear a large Airport Connection logo on the sides, while the sixth Flex is more discreet without any labeling and contains a more luxurious leather interior, Story said.

Carey is showcasing the sixth Flex to potential corporate clients who may be interested in the comforts of the Town Car but prefer the less outwardly luxurious image of the Flex. He will then decide whether to get more luxury version Flexes or adapt the one to the standard Airport Connection model.

Story got the idea of using Flexes after he rented one for a motorcoach driver who had to be pre-positioned as a relief driver along a charter and tour route. Story was impressed with the legroom and overall utility of the vehicle.

Carey Transportation is a full service transportation provider with facilities in Norfolk, Richmond, and Williamsburg. It is a division of Richmond, Va.-based James River Bus Lines, which provides motorcoach transportation, transportation management, contract services, and convention shuttles.

Source: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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