State-certified shuttle service offers reliable airport rides, group charters

Doug Cantwell
dcantwell@taosnews.com
Posted 10/17/19

Peter O'Donoghue had logged 1.5 million miles as a coast-to-coast tractor-trailer driver before he moved to Taos and started driving shuttles.

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State-certified shuttle service offers reliable airport rides, group charters

Posted

Peter O'Donoghue had logged 1.5 million miles as a coast-to-coast tractor-trailer driver before he moved to Taos and started driving shuttles. "I had a refrigerated trailer and would drive fresh produce from L.A. to New York City," he said. "Backing a 53-foot trailer into a tight loading dock in NYC - now that was a bit more challenging than driving folks to the airport."

O'Donoghue, his son Stuart and a third driver, Gary Von, all used to drive for Taos Ski Valley before Peter stood up his own company, Taos Rides, in August 2018. Today, they drive passengers to Santa Fe airport ($55) or Albuquerque airport ($70), departing from Taos at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. seven days a week. (You save $10 by buying the round trip up front.) They pick up returning passengers and depart ABQ airport at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., again stopping at SAF airport along the way.

Taos Rides will accommodate you with door-to-door service - within reason. "If you're roughly within the town limits or not too far out, we'll pick you up and drop you at your front door," said Peter O'Donoghue. As for charters, they're entirely flexible about tailoring the service to meet your needs.

While he grumbles about the hoops he had to jump through to get fully certified by the New Mexico Department of Transportation, O'Donoghue said it was all worth it. "Once you've gotten your PRC [Public Regulations Commission] number, it puts your customers at ease," he said. "It tells them your commercial licenses have been verified, that you've been fully background-checked, drug-tested and insured with maximum liability coverage of $1.5 million per person."

There's another advantage to having the PRC number stenciled on the side of their vehicles. "We can go into ABQ airport and use the green line [shuttle lane] to meet you in person or drop you off," said O'Donoghue. "Only commercial shuttles get to do that."

O'Donoghue and company offer three vehicles: a full-sized Chevy Express van that handles 10 passengers with luggage (or 14 passengers without); a Chevy Suburban for smaller groups; and a Chevy Equinox SUV for one or two passengers. But they'll add a second van or a trailer for luggage if need be.

"For a while, we had companies in Taos that were operating illegally," said Stuart O'Donoghue. "They were cheap, but they were cheap for a reason. They were unreliable, and sometimes their vehicles were barely running. We wanted to fill that niche with affordable service that people could really trust."

Even though he did the L.A.-to-NYC run more times than he can count, Peter O'Donoghue still says, "I like the experience of driving. I'd rather drive 1,200 miles than fly on an airplane."

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