Who started the Transporter?
The Transporter, frequently referred to as the NC Transporter, was started in October of 2006 by film and documentary producer Richard Sirianni, and his wife, Susan, a ballet instructor and choreographer. At that time, a smoke-free, prearranged airport taxi service did not exist in the Wilmington area. One could barely get a taxi driver to stop smoking in the vehicle, let alone the passengers. Richard (or Rich, or Richie, depending on how long, or how well, you know him) had previously worked in Los Angeles for such notables as Cher, Prince, Madonna, The Jacksons, Barbra Streisand, David Geffen, Johnny Mathis, Elizabeth Taylor, and Sidney Poitier.
The company is called The Transporter because Susan liked the movie and actor Jason Statham. Mike Oakes started working with Rich in 2003.
Are all of your reservations made by prearrangement?
Providing service for approximately 3000 annual airport and medical reservations requires keeping a prearranged schedule. Please do not assume that you have a scheduled reservation if you have not received a confirmation in response to your request. We respond to every email, text, or phone inquiry received, even if we cannot provide the type of service requested.
Do you do early morning pickups and if so, who will my driver be at 4:00AM?
The Transporter was created because few services in those early days wanted to schedule an early morning pickup heading for the airport. We make the driver's schedules between 7:00-8:00 p.m. each evening. At that time, we will send a text with your driver's name and direct cell phone number for reservations scheduled for pickup before 8:00 a.m., when our office opens. We find this is the best contact method to reach someone overnight.
How much notice is required to schedule a pickup?
We prefer to have as much notice as one can provide, especially during the period from March through October. Many regular business travelers will provide an entire monthly travel itinerary. If we cannot accommodate you on short notice, we will refer you to one of our longtime backup drivers at another company.
Do you travel to Bald Head Island?
"How do I get to the Bald Head Island ferry?" It's one of the first questions asked by those visiting the island for the first time. Our most requested reservations are airport taxi and shuttle transfers between Wilmington (ILM) and Myrtle Beach (MYR) airports and the Deep Point Marina to catch the ferry for Bald Head Island.
Airport transfers for Bald Head Island residents and guests are our most requested reservation. The Transporter provides between 950-1100 transports annually to and from the Deep Point Marina. In addition to the Wilmington International Airport (ILM), we also have passengers who travel through Myrtle Beach (MYR), Jacksonville (OAJ), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), and Charleston (CHS). Passengers arriving on later flights are frequently transported to local Wilmington hotels and ask that we retrieve them the following morning for transport to the ferry. We even have Bald Head Island guests who travel using one of the regional Amtrak stations.
Do you do other work besides airport transportation?
We have been known for primarily providing prearranged, smoke-free airport transportation for the Greater Wilmington region since our inception, but The Transporter also provides medical transportation services. We are all getting older, and many of you have required transport to and from a doctor, physical therapy and MRI appointments, and surgery in Wilmington, Duke University Medical Center, Chapel Hill, and Rex Hospital in the Raleigh/Durham area.
We have also been providing wedding shuttle services and transportation serving the legal industry for years. Law firms have asked us to transport witnesses to several North Carolina federal courthouses or requested an airport pickup for a passenger in town to testify or give a deposition. Frequently, a firm will represent a claimant injured in an accident and needing transportation to various appointments.
How far will you travel?
The Transporter has longtime Wilmington-area customers who travel as far as Savannah, Charleston, Asheville, Washington D.C., Richmond, VA, and Pennsylvania.
Do you have any female drivers?
Although we have had female drivers during our time in business, we do not at this time.
How many passengers can your vehicles accommodate?
Our fleet of Toyota Sienna minivans can accommodate up to 7 passengers and luggage. Multiple golf bags sometimes alter the luggage configuration, and it would be customary for a larger group with luggage and items such as baby strollers or playpens to reserve two vehicles.
Do you provide child seats?
North Carolina state law requires that children under the age of 8 or 80 pounds be transported in a child seat of some type. We have front-facing/rear-facing combo seats, infant seats, boosters, and high-back boosters. We provide the seats without any additional charge. Please let us know not only the age of the child but, more importantly, the weight.
What if my arriving flight is late?
Our drivers track the incoming flights, which is why it is so essential for the customer to always provide us with the airline, flight number, and departure city. If your flight is late, this usually will not be an issue, but sometimes a delayed flight will result in a schedule conflict. Should that happen, we will do all we can to accommodate everyone. If necessary, we will attempt to bring in one of our regular backup drivers from another company. If you miss your connecting flight, please let us know as soon as possible so we can re-work our driver's schedules or make alternate arrangements to get you to your destination.
Are rates per trip or per person and does it include the tip?
Rates are always per trip and not per person. The fare includes everything but driver gratuity. We use the City of Wilmington/Wilmington Airport mileage rate to calculate both in-town and out-of-town fares. We will generally provide a discount for fares greater than 20 miles.
Do you charge for extra stops?
We allow one quick ten-minute stop en route to any destination without charge. Occasionally, passengers heading to their Bald Head Island vacation may wish to make multiple stops to pick up groceries or at the local ABC Store. Stores such as Lowe's Foods, Harris Teeter, and Walmart have online ordering, and we only need to stop to load the pre-order into the vehicle. For shopping sprees longer than 10 minutes or multiple stops, we may charge anywhere from an additional $10.00 to $30.00/Hour wait time. Just ask, and we'll figure out your situation.
Will I need to provide a credit card to secure my reservation?
No, a credit card is not required to hold the reservation. Many passengers prepay to avoid dealing with the transaction on their travel days. Still, we try not to immediately extract the money from you and prefer to provide the service first.
You may pay the driver directly by cash, credit card, or Venmo upon arriving at your destination. Many of our customers will also provide payment for their traveling guests or family members. We will accept credit card information by phone or can give the Venmo account information.
Corporate and frequent travelers often ask that we keep their credit card details on file with an emailed receipt after each trip.
Do you have a secure portal for online payments?
We understand online payment portals are efficient methods of transmitting funds. We here at The Transporter have not yet come to embrace and trust 100% the transmission of sensitive credit card information via the Internet. Venmo has been working very well for both the company and the customer, and we would be happy to provide the account information to those who have scheduled reservations. With the fraud and theft that continue to plague us in our personal and professional lives, we prefer to work the old-fashioned way --- we accept credit card information by phone, or our drivers will write up a slip and provide a copy of the receipt. It has worked for us for nearly twenty years without any issues.
Do you allow pets?
We do have customers who travel with their pets. The more, the merrier! Most are of a smaller breed (the pet, not the customer) and will often sit in a parent's lap. If you have larger pets that shed, we may ask that a carrier be used since the driver may not have sufficient time to vacuum the vehicle before heading to the next pickup.
May I smoke in your vehicles?
The polite and straightforward answer is no. Our vehicles have been smoke-free from the very beginning. We have had a customer or two enter a vehicle after smoking a cigar or pipe. It is not easy to get the lingering odor out of the car. While we're on the subject, this also goes for alcohol consumption. Collectively, it just makes it easier to keep the vehicles clean.
Do you have any sedans, limos or SUVs?
We presently operate 4 Toyota Sienna minivans. We are not a limo service with partitioned vehicles. The sedans were removed from our fleet years ago when families traveling to resort destinations such as Bald Head Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, and Topsail Island were growing fast and bringing plenty of luggage. We found that most SUVs could not accommodate these families, and the Toyota Sienna minivan was optimal for long-haul situations.
What made you decide to join the Better Business Bureau?
Many customers say they reserved with The Transporter because of the abundance of positive Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews (we could always use more if you have a minute) and our accredited A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB called in 2017 asking us to join when they became aware of what we already knew --- the Greater Wilmington Region lacked quality transportation. Many Yellow Page and Google listings, as well as local business and travel websites, were and still are for companies long gone. The BBB believed that our industry could do a much better job in our market and asked The Transporter to join since we had been providing quality transportation here since 2006.
Do you have handicap-accessible vehicles?
Although we provide a fair number of medical-related trips and have customers who use a wheelchair, we do not have handicap-accessible vehicles. The customer must be able to get in and out of the van independently and possess a collapsible wheelchair that the driver will fold and place in the rear. Local services, like Wilmington Transport, Ivory's Transport, and Med-Trans, operate vehicles with either a lift or ramp to facilitate the transport of those who are wheelchair-bound.