They have been known as Longmont Shuttle and Boulder Shuttle, but now, with the acquisition of Green Ride's Shared Ride Shuttle and operations and consolidation of the brands under the Eight Black banner, the company will be known as Eight Black Airport Shuttle.
However, even as the rebranding rolls out, owner Simon Chen’s focus remains where it has been all along – firmly on the community.
Chen and his team of drivers were instrumental during the pandemic in providing for the struggling community; everything from toilet paper, grocery runs, and driving people to and from vaccination appointments. They provided all of these services for free. Just as importantly, the shuttle operations never closed, even when the pandemic was at its peak and daily customers were in the single digits.
Now, as restrictions ease, they are at it again and will soon offer two vehicles to deserving charities.
Chen explains why. “During the course of the Green Ride acquisition and our current fleet upgrade, we will be retiring vehicles that are still in good working order. Over the next few months we will give these vehicles away to charity organizations or non-profits that can make the best use of them. We will disperse one in Boulder and one in Longmont.”
The Green Ride acquisition is the company’s most recent venture and it was done to serve the community with even greater efficiency. With former Green Ride owner Ross Alexander contemplating a respite for the business, he and Chen were able to come to an acquisition agreement within hours of meeting and completed the deal within two weeks.
“We both felt a single service would provide the best stability and more opportunities to the communities we serve,” says Chen. “Eight Black hired a lot of the core team from Green Ride and made sure those jobs stayed here locally. We have learned a lot from our new teammates, and they have learned a lot from us. It’s been a win-win all around.”
“I have huge respect for Ross Alexander of Green Ride. He built a great business. We consider it an honor to continue that legacy. Ross and I were polite competitors but after the acquisition we have become friends.” Alexander will still continue to operate his charter and event business under the new name Green Ride Charter Services.
Although Eight Black took some hits during the pandemic, the diversity of the brand (black car service, event transport, weddings, security, etc.) insulated the brand from the brunt of the fallout. In fact, the business grew rapidly during 2021 and Chen looks forward to continued success through 2022 and beyond.
“The main thing for us, always,” said Chen, “is to do the right thing by the people of Boulder county. We pride ourselves on providing a clean, cost effective, safe ride to the airport or to your event. We have discounts for military and first responders. It’s all about doing the right thing by the community.”
“We also intend to be the first shuttle operator in northern Colorado to operate electric vehicles. We have already begun testing a fully electric Ford Transit shuttle that is manufactured by Colorado's own LightningEV. We have no choice but to move to a fully electric fleet. We are conscious about the environment and our carbon footprint. Electric is the right thing to do.”