PLATTSBURGH -- Bus service is under way between Montreal and Plattsburgh International Airport, considered "Montreal's U.S. airport."
Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas talked Monday about this next stage of transportation development at the Plattsburgh airport.
Last week, Greyhound and Adirondack Trailways started operating one trip each way between the airport and Montreal, at a cost of $20 each way.
The new bus routes "make it that much easier for those who don't own cars or who are concerned about the price of gas," Douglas said.
When flights were canceled during an ice storm last winter, he said, it was amazing to see how many Canadian travelers were at the airport without cars.
Chamber Vice President of Marketing Michele Powers said she's been promoting the airport at trade shows for the last two years. The first two questions she gets asked are about parking and whether there is transportation between Montreal and the airport.
"The enthusiasm and response from Montrealers -- and (people in) Quebec in general -- has been overwhelming," she said. "I think this will be heavily utilized. It will only add to the number of people who come to this airport."
Greyhound Area Sales Manager Dan Broska said the company has, for years, considered offering service to the airport in Plattsburgh.
The move will also allow the company to offer service from locations south of Plattsburgh, such as Schroon Lake, he said.
Paul Provost, head of business development for Adirondack Trailways, said the bus service allows people to work on their computers on the way to the airport or just relax. It also makes winter travel much easier, he said.
After seeing the number of cars in the long-term parking lot with Canadian license plates, the decision to offer the bus service was easy, Provost said.
"You have to be ready, willing and able to go after that need."
The new service should help ease the parking situation at the airport, where the long-term lot is constantly crowded.
Denis St. Pierre, Adirondack Trailways Montreal manager, said border crossings for buses into the United States have been slightly slowed by the ongoing Port of Excellence project, but not often. The inspection is typically about 30 to 40 minutes.
He is looking forward to the opening of the facility dedicated solely to processing buses, scheduled for this fall.
Plattsburgh International Airport Manager Chris Kreig said the airport officials work with border officials and the airlines to make sure people get on the plane.
"The last thing we want to see is anyone miss their flight."
Greyhound will depart the Montreal bus terminal at 7 a.m., and the trip, including border clearance, is expected to take about two hours. It is scheduled to leave the airport at noon and arrive in Montreal about 2 p.m.
The Adirondack Trailways bus will leave Montreal at 2:05 p.m. and the Longueuil bus station at 2:20 p.m. It is expected to also take about two hours.
On the return trip, the bus is scheduled to leave the airport at 8 p.m. and arrive in Longueuil at 9:50 p.m. and downtown Montreal at 10 p.m.
Both bus stations are connected to metro stations.
Provost said the company recognizes the airport is going to grow.
"We know our service will become more flexible as the number of flights grows."
Douglas said he met with representatives of eight airlines in Pittsburgh last week. He said he would be surprised if another destination carrier, similar to Allegiant Air or Myrtle Beach Direct, isn't in Plattsburgh by the fall.