About 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, customers calling for shuttle service to St. Louis heard a recorded voice say “Tiger Air Express” when they called that company. Two hours later, a man was answering the same phone number, “Show Me Coaches.”
Tiger Air Express was dissolved Tuesday when MO-X airport shuttle service purchased the rival shuttle company for undisclosed terms.
With the dissolution of his former competitor, MO-X President Norm Ruebling said, “I’m so excited, I don’t know what to say or do.”
MO-X is acquiring only the shuttle division of Tiger Air Express Inc. Tiger Air Express will retain the motor coach division under the name Show Me Coaches. A recorded message from Show Me Coaches said prepaid reservations with Tiger Air Express were refunded Tuesday.
Show Me Coaches will continue providing motor coach service from Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas City, according to the company Web site. Representatives from Show Me Coaches and Tiger Air Express were unavailable for comment.
Tiger Air Express discontinued daily shuttle service to Kansas City International Airport in January 2003, leaving MO-X as the only shuttle between Columbia and Kansas City. Now MO-X is the sole shuttle service in Columbia providing transportation from Columbia to both Kansas City and St. Louis.
Ruebling said the buyout is not a merger and has been in the works since January 2003. He said there will be no changes to the schedule, rates or services provided by the shuttle service.
Ruebling and CEO Brent Moore co-own the local company, which was founded in October 1999. Although Tiger Air Express was founded 12 years earlier, MO-X provided 85 percent of the airport shuttle service in Columbia at the time of the buyout, according to a company release. Tiger Air Express has experienced two changes of ownership in the past six years. In November 1997, Tiger Air Express was bought by New Jersey-based Travelways Inc. But in June 2000, founder Brent De Moss bought the company back.
When Ruebling and Moore, both former Tiger Air Express employees, founded MO-X in September 1999, Tiger Air Express opposed the new company’s attempts to gain a license from the Missouri Department of Motor Carrier and Railroad Safety by filing a lawsuit. Ruebling said Tiger Air Express tried to get the state to not see a need for another shuttle service in Columbia.
Ruebling said Tiger Air Express dropped its lawsuit the day before they were to testify before the department. With no one protesting, the application was granted, he said.