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International Home Furnishings Market Authority Enhances Airport Shuttle Services

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The International Home Furnishing Market Authority (IHFMA) announces that free shuttle service to High Point will be available during the October 2005 Market for visitors flying into Raleigh/Durham International or Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Additionally, the existing free shuttle from Piedmont Triad International Airport has been streamlined to provide express service, with no stops between PTIA and the Market Transportation Terminal in downtown High Point. “Our research revealed that an increasing number of Market visitors are coming to High Point through the Raleigh and Charlotte airports,” explained IHFMA president, Judy Mendenhall, “and in our ongoing mission to make every aspect of the Market travel experience as convenient as possible, we coordinated this free shuttle service to provide significant cost and time savings.” Visitors planning to use the Raleigh and Charlotte airport shuttles must reserve seats in advance by contacting the IHFMA. Plans to transform the PTIA shuttle to an express route were initiated as a result of feedback from surveys performed during the April 2005 Market which indicated traveler’s overwhelming preference for direct service to downtown High Point. Free shuttles from PTIA and area hotels were introduced during the October 2003 Market through North Carolina Department of Transportation funding approved by the North Carolina Legislature after lobbying by the IHFMA and other Market-related organizations. Since these free shuttles started operating, ridership on the hotel shuttles has increased by 89%, while airport shuttle usage has more than doubled. The hotel system features at total of twenty-five routes, serving 110 area hotels, with the trip to the Market center from the farthest (located in Winston-Salem, Greensboro or Burlington) lasting generally less than 25 minutes. Free shuttles, strategically located and liberally scheduled, also play a key role in moving people from Park & Ride lots in North and South High Point to the Market center. This total of over 3500 free parking spaces, tripling the amount previously available, results in 16,000 less cars per market seeking centrally located parking and has driven down prices at the downtown private lots. “Showroom travel is another area we have aggressively addressed,” stated Mendenhall. “We continue to rework the free downtown shuttle to serve larger areas and more showrooms, and this Market we’ve added two routes that will serve more showrooms in much less time than before. I encourage all Market goers to visit our web site (www.highpointmarket.org) and check out the new routes.” Two services, with twenty-five stops each, run in the central area each day of Market including the Tuesday before, from 8 am to 8 pm, while free on-demand shuttles travel from the downtown area to outlying showrooms in High Point and Thomasville.

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