The host operator for this year’s TLPA
Spring Conference & Expo will be Oklahoma City’s own Airport Express, Inc./MedRide. You don’t want to miss this meeting, because you will have the opportunity to tour the operator’s facilities and, while you’re onsite, be treated to world-famous BBQ!
Founded in 1987 as a shared-ride airport transportation service, Airport Express soon expanded into bus service, accessible transportation, paratransit and luxury town car service. In addition, it employs a unique mix of independent owner-operator drivers as well as employed personnel.
What’s most important, however, is the passion all of them bring to their jobs.
David Batson, the organization’s general manager, sums up the persevering spirit that makes Airport Express shine: "[We are] taking care of business in freezing, sleeting conditions and still getting our patients to appointments and our travelers to and from the airport."
It has been that way since the company was first founded.
"A lot of what we do and have done has been trial, error, and retrial, noticing opportunities and taking chances and above all noticing and appreciating the talent in our employees and contractors," says Kate Atwood-Batson, Airport Express’ director of marketing, about the company’s expansion. "Larry [Lucas, Airport Express’ founder,] and David saw opportunities all over the city."
Airport Express' first expansion came after winning a contract for Oklahoma City's night buses. As the buses were equipped with wheelchair lifts, the opportunity to expand into wheelchair-accessible transportation arose and MedRide was born.
MedRide provides buses and accessible minivans that can transport patients to and from doctor's appointments, hospitals, and events. When it started getting questions about non-emergency stretcher aid transports, the company opened Oklahoma Critical Care Transport (OCCT).
"We employ state-licensed EMTs and paramedics [for OCCT] and offer a wide range of classes to maintain their CE requirements. Most of our dispatchers for OCCT and MedRide have received their Emergency Dispatch licenses, which just adds another layer of service in case the need arises," Atwood-Batson says.
In addition to medical transportation, buses and airport shuttles, Airport Express operates a luxury town car service called Premium Car and a set of luxury black buses for formal and corporate events.
"We are now one of the premier bus services for colleges, businesses, and surprisingly enough, weddings," Atwood-Batson says.
Airport Express plans to showcase all of its vehicles during the facilities tour. The five-acre lot has two buildings on it, one containing management offices, IT support office, Airport Express dispatch, and MedRide dispatch, as well as a wash bay that is large enough for ambulances and buses. The second building contains the maintenance shop; OCCT office; OCCT dispatch; the EMTs/paramedics hang-out, which doubles as a training room; and a holding area for ambulances and black buses. In addition, Airport Express rents an offsite facility to cover its other vehicles.
During the tour on Wednesday evening, April 11, attendees will be able to see all of this and more—including the world-famous taxicab-turned-BBQ smoker brought in especially for the occasion by the 3 Taxi Guys BBQ sauce company. Don't miss this unique chance for a behind-the-scenes look at Oklahoma City’s premier transportation company—and all while enjoying a plate of award-winning BBQ from 3 Taxi Guys!
The site, which is about a mile from Will Rogers Airport, is visible to people flying into Oklahoma City, so keep your eyes peeled as you arrive! If you have yet to register for the Spring Conference & Expo, click
here to get started. We’ll see you soon in Oklahoma City!