Ride classy with Peak Transportation
December 7, 2007
It started with two ski bums who came out to Park City to have a good time and work at the Utah Olympic Park – Brad Hart and his cohort, Erich Snyder.
"I was working for another local [taxi] company, and I bought a big white passenger van to start my own taxi company," said Hart, founder, co-owner and chief of strategies of Peak Transportation in Park City. "I started it on my own. It was called Peak Transportation back then. The phone number used to be 901-TAXI, but it has developed into larger airport transportation company."
Hart, originally from Chicago, was just looking for a way to make some extra money on the side while working as an Olympic Park track maintenance person and enjoying skiing on the slopes in Park City. But, his small, exclusive van taxi company would prove to be a lot more successful than he expected. His co-worker, Snyder, helped him get the company started. Another local, Kyle Gervais, heard about an opening for a partnering position with Peak Transportation in The Park Record in 2005. He was working as a sushi chef at the time, but quickly joined the team.
Within four years, the trio partnered up with a couple other local taxi enthusiasts in town and the company evolved into a much larger, higher-end airport pick-up, concierge and transportation service. It now owns 10 "fully stocked," high-end vehicles, including 2007-08 GM Suburbans and a new Cadillac Escalade. Not a bad transition from the large white passenger van Hart originally started with.
"I started [this business] as a way to make more money," Hart said. "I did nighttime taxi driving and skied during the day. [Peak Transportation] was an evolution. I never saw that coming."
These chaperone transportation gurus have seen a lot of exciting stuff throughout the years, including driving celebrities like Tiger Woods, Jack Johnson, Adam Derwood from the Counting Crows, Dhani Jones from the Philadelphia Eagles, and recently, Barack Obama, when the presidential hopeful visited Park City last summer.
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The Peak drivers also regularly pick up and chaperone frequent visitors and tourists who come to town. Peak Transportation is the company a lot of travelers rely on, said Alan Powell, the new CEO of the company, who partnered up with Snyder and Hart a couple years ago.
"Our biggest thing is, we’re there when your flight lands," Powell said, emphasizing the great customer service Peak offers. "We treat everyone like family, especially our regulars. Treating people like family goes a long way with driving and safety."
Powell joined Peak Transportation after coming to Park City from Pennsylvania in 2000. He received his taxi license and leased two new GM Suburbans and began working with Peak Transportation, as well as some other clients he picked up along the way, with the old taxi company he used to work for in town, called Day Trips.
"I drove nights and weekends and had so many clients," Powell said of his stint with Day Trips. "I worked with Day Trips and saw the potential for a higher-end service. I started driving with Peak Transportation and took calls from clients from years past."
Powell said he enjoys his regular clients, including a group of five women from the West Coast, who request Powell to pick them up and chauffer them around each year when they visit the town for their annual girls’ trips.
The newest driver and co-owner of the Peak Transportation team is Brad Taggart, a Salt Lake native who heard about a job opening at Peak from his wife, who was working for Grand Summit Concierge.
"I like it a lot, I’m loyal," Taggart said about his company. "It’s way competitive. We must have good rapport with the hotels in town."
The chauffeurs say safety and punctuality are the top priorities of their job. Since each driver and co-owner operates their own vehicles, they said they feel more responsible for the passengers in their care. The Peak Transportation team promises to be early or on time when their clients’ flights land. And, if a client’s flight comes in early or late, they will be flexible and make sure someone is at the airport to pick them up.
"I had a client whose plane was supposed to come in at 8 p.m. and didn’t come in until 2 a.m., and I was there," Powell said.
Snyder said he agrees Peak Transportation goes above and beyond the call of duty because they have to take their jobs seriously. They’re out to perfect the business in a competitive resort town.
"The difference with us and other transportation companies in town is we’re a management team. We’re all co-owners," Snyder said. "We’re taking care of people."
Powell said they take special requests from new or regular clients, including providing copies of The Washington Post for one client each time he comes into town.
"We have a very personal touch with our clientele," Powell said. "We are the first and last impression our guests get of this town."
The management team has now hired 30 drivers. Business is looking good, Hart said. During the winter months, they use all 10 vehicles for pick-up services.
"Our office can sometimes turn into a stock-trading floor," Hart jokes. "But we do work with other companies if we are unable to pick someone up. And that’s what it all boils down to. If we say we will pick you up, someone will be there."
Peak Transportation offers VIP memberships for its regular clients on its Web site, where it provides package deals and discounts. They will also take day trips to neighboring cities. Clients can also request and schedule pick-ups online at http://www.peaktransportation.com or by calling the toll-free number at 1-877-474-9019. For more information about rates or booking, visit http://www.peaktransportation.com or call 1-877-474-9019.