COLUMBIA —When Cynthia Mitchell had a meal at Teppanyaki Grill two months ago, she was attracted by new vans parked outside advertising a shuttle service to the St. Louis airport.
She wanted to book a ticket to St. Louis with EZGO Bus, but it was before the new shuttle service opened on Aug. 13, so she had to wait until her next trip at the end of the month.
Mitchell, solid waste manager for the city of Columbia, usually drives herself to the airport. She liked the deal that EZGO was offering: $35 for a one-way ticket and a free buffet at Teppanyaki Grill. The shuttle also saves her the expense of gas and parking at the airport.
With its base at the restaurant, EZGO doesn’t need to pay rent and utilities, EZGO Manager Linda Lin said. EZGO reciprocates those benefits to the restaurant by paying $10 for each free buffet, she said. Employees of the restaurant also can travel to the airport on EZGO for free.
Lori Amanda Turner, who's worked at Teppanyaki for three years, works behind the same desk as the manager of EZGO. She joined the business eight months ago when Juncan Zhang, owner of EZGO, started the company.
Turner said EZGO's customer service will help them get customers.
“We make customers feel like in family,” she said.
Arranging drivers is the biggest challenge though, Turner said. “We have five regular drivers and five part-time drivers. A lot of them have other jobs.”
The workload of drivers will increase when EZGO, located at 908 I-70 Drive SW, begins service to Kansas City International Airport in the next two weeks, Turner said.
As a new company, Turner said she regarded MO-X, a shuttle service to the St. Louis and Kansas City airports, as the new company's largest competitor.
Norm Ruebling, owner of MO-X for 15 years, expressed confidence in his business. “We have the best employees and drivers in the world," he said.
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