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Kingston entrepreneur shuttles Canadians to malls, airports

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Shuttling Canadians across the border to malls and airports is a Kingston businessman’s ambition.

Shuttle Kingston, hatched by Dilip K. Ranchod three weeks ago, offers daily charter trips to the Salmon Run Mall and Destiny USA in Syracuse. The shuttle also offers trips to Hancock International Airport, Syracuse, and will soon make stops at Watertown International Airport. Northern New York residents may also use the service to travel to Kingston.

Canadian shoppers can make a round-trip to the Salmon Run Mall for $69 per person, traveling in a passenger van that accommodates groups of up to seven people. The van leaves Kingston at 8:30 a.m., arriving at the Watertown mall at about 9:30 and then 10:30 at Destiny USA. Shoppers are then picked up at 6 p.m. in Syracuse and 7 in Watertown before returning to Kingston.

Mr. Ranchod, who has a background in sales and marketing, spawned his business plan last summer while brainstorming with a friend. Kingston has a charter bus company that makes trips to Syracuse about five times a year, but he discovered Kingston residents have no other shuttle services at their disposal.

Mr. Ranchod’s Canadian license allows him to make charter and shuttle trips as long as those passengers aren’t traveling at the same time. So, once he drops off shuttle passengers, he can pick up charter passengers, or vice versa.

“I want to do both because the costs for gas and insurance are so high,” Mr. Ranchod said. “Once I drop off passengers at Destiny USA, I can pick up a passenger at the airport and take him to Kingston. In the afternoon I can pick them up in Kingston and take them to the airport.”

Canadians are expected to be attracted to flights to Chicago that American Eagle Airlines offers at the Watertown International Airport, he said. The airport will soon be listed as a scheduled destination on the business website www.shuttlekingston.com. Travelers in Kingston, Watertown and Syracuse may now book trips online and pay in advance by credit card.

“I’ve had people tell me about the Watertown airport, and I don’t think a lot of people here know about that possibility,” Mr. Ranchod said.

He noted Ontario newspapers include advertisements for the Salmon Run Mall, a mecca for Canadians looking to capitalize on lower prices. To attract college students, he has begun advertising the service at Queens University in Kingston.

“Many of our Canadians are going down there, and I think groups of ladies will get together to have some fun there,” he said.

Along with dropping Canadians off in the north country, Mr. Ranchod hopes to scoop up Americans looking for a simple way to get to Kingston. He expects an interest among businessmen arriving at the Watertown International Airport or tourists interested in visiting Kingston for the first time.

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