Heading south on the Seward highway after picking up Natalie from the Ted Stevens International Airport, Angel pitched the idea of a shuttle service between Seward and Anchorage. Although Angel has been ride-sharing for years, her and Natalie teamed up to meet the needs of a reliable, late-night service for individuals seeking a ride to or from the Anchorage airport. From dream scheme to reality in under two months, these go-getters bought a bus, secured the necessary insurance and licensing and have already completed their maiden voyage.
What is your itinerary like?
Red Eye Rides is offering a late-night, reservation-based, shuttle-service between the Seward Harbor and the Anchorage Airport. The itinerary goes as follows:
7:30 pm - Pick at The Seward Harbor Master office
8 pm - Departure for Anchorage
Stop in Girdwood upon request
10:30 pm - Arrival at airport
11 pm- 1 am - Drop passengers at gate & pick passenger arrivals up
1:30 am -Depart airport
Stop in Girdwood upon request
3:30 am - Arrival at The Seward Harbor Master Office
Tell me about the bus!
“We had a lead on a bus in Fairbanks,” Natalie tells of how she, Angel and a friend set out at 7 am on that early April morning in search of a vehicle for Red Eye Rides. However, upon arrival in Fairbanks, their promised rig was unable to be test driven for a few days. Undeterred from this hitch in their plan, Natalie and Angel set forth in search of another lead in Delta Junction.
Remembering the drive into Delta Junction, Angel explains that “where we went, you couldn’t go any further.” But despite finding themselves in “the pit of Delta Junction,” Natalie knew they’d discovered their ticket to Red Eye Rides tucked beneath the 4 feet of solid ice on the roof of their new bus. After fueling up on Thai Food and gas, they were headed back to Seward, this time, in two vehicles.
Despite the frost-heaved, pot-holed Richardson Highway and stampeding oil rigs slowing their speeds, Natalie and Angel made the loop from Seward to Fairbanks to Delta Junction and back, in 24 hours and 3 minutes. On the ride home, Angel patiently waited for the highway to free the bus of its ice-capped roof. She wasn’t disappointed when, after Natalie hit yet another unavoidable pothole, the ice and snow went flying in a volcanic-like explosion splattering all over the road. No one was harmed in the return to Seward.
Tell me about the paint job!
“The seller assured us we’d only need to paint a racing stripe or a few stars on the side of the bus in order to alter it enough for commercial use.” However, upon a tip from a trusted Seward source, Natalie learned that School Bus Yellow is a federally owned color and it would be illegal to operate with it. “So we sanded and slapped on a coat of Safety Red from Ace Hardware,” Angel laughs, recalling the afternoon she spent with the hand-sander.
What else should we know about Red Eye Rides?
“Our bus is ADA accessible,” Natalie informs, “and can safely accommodate two wheelchairs.” In total, the bus can transport up to 14 passengers. When asked if they will transport animals, Natalie and Angel both agreed they prefer dogs over human customers. To pass the time while waiting for their shift change in Anchorage, Angel plans to blow bubbles, hula hoop and tell terrible jokes. Natalie, on the other hand, is looking forward to watching the float planes take off and land on Lake Hood. Natalie and Angel have high expectations for Red Eye Rides, hoping to expand their shuttle services to meet the needs of Sewardite’s in the future.