Daily Business Report-March 24, 2016
Homepage image from wingz.com
Can Wingz Beat Rivals in
Airport Shuttle Wars?
Times of San Diego
An airport ride service vowing to relieve stress by “putting control in the hands of the traveler” Wednesday announced its service to Lindbergh Field.
Wingz — now operating at 15 airports in eight areas — says it offers travelers a prebooked flat rate and will compete with Lyft, Uber and conventional shuttle services.
Chris Brandon, the San Francisco-based company’s CEO, said: “You simply schedule the date and time, and we’ll secure the right driver for you at a flat rate, with no surprises.”
David Boenitz, director of ground transportation for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority said: “Wingz has a strong commitment to customer service, making the company an ideal partner as we strive to enhance the airport experience for all of our visitors.”
Unlike other peer-to-peer transportation services, Wingz offers prebooked rides to and from the airport. On-demand services may not be available at off hours or during peak demand, leaving travelers stranded, said a news release.
At the time of booking via the Wingz app or online, customers receive a flat-rate quote based on their location and size of the party.
Once booked, that rate will not change. Wingz customers are not hit with surge pricing or higher fares due to heavy traffic. As a Wingz customer, you “know before you go” just how much the fare will cost.
Returning customers can request previous drivers, the company said.
“All Wingz drivers are handpicked and trained, undergo a thorough background and vehicle check, and are provided with a $1 million liability insurance policy,” the company said.
Using an online calculator, Wingz said a trip for two people (with three checked bags) from La Mesa to San Diego International Airport would cost $33.
The service competes with taxi, ride share and other shuttles as well.
“With Wingz, a trip from the airport to downtown San Diego will cost $25, whereas a ride from the Carmel Valley area to the airport will run around $34. An extra stop along the way will tack $10 on to the bill,” said a report in The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“Rates aren’t as cheap as those offered by some of the company’s on-demand competitors, but Wingz hopes its flat fares and predictability will serve as incentives for travelers who wish to avoid peak-time price surges or
uncertain wait times.”
Cox Business Completes $3 Million Buildout
Of Fiber Network at Poway Business Park
Cox Business, the division of Cox Communications that serves commercial customers, reported that it has completed a $3 million build-out of more than seven miles of its fiber network at the Poway Business Park.
The company said businesses that previously had limited technology options now have advanced Internet, phone and video services.
The business park, located between Interstate 15 and State Route 67 near Poway Parkway, has 400 businesses ranging from clothing and drone manufacturers to real estate, insurance and legal services.
The company said businesses can obtain Internet speeds up to 10 gigabits; the ability to connect multiple locations and teleconferencing; phone
services such as IP Centrex; and TV packages for corporate offices, bars and restaurants.
Microsoft Co-Founder Gifts $100 Million
To Create Allen Institute for Cell Science
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen announced that he is making a $100 million contribution to help create the Allen Institute for Cell Science, a new Seattle-based nonprofit organization that will study how information coded in our genes becomes a living cell, and what goes wrong in a disease.
“Scientists have learned a great deal about many of the 50 trillion cells in our bodies over the last decades, but creating a comprehensive, predictive model of the cell will require a different approach,” Allen said in a statement. “We conceived of the Allen Institute for Cell Science as a catalyzing force to integrate technologies and approaches at a large scale in order to provide an exceptional resource for the entire scientific community. It is our hope that this effort will bring forward the treatment of different diseases.”
Schubach Aviation Adds
Another Luxury Jet to Fleet
Schubach Aviation in Carlsbad has added a 12-passenger Bombardier Challenger 601-3R executive aircraft to its fleet of 12 luxury aircraft available for charter.
The Challenger offers wide-body comfort and a larger cabin cross-section, which lends to its exceptionally spacious interior, and its seating capacity makes it a smart value for larger groups of travelers, said Henry Schubach, president and founder of the company. The aircraft also has 115 cubic feet of cargo space to accommodate a large amount of luggage for extended trips.
Passenger seats have the ability to convert into beds for long-range or overnight travel.
The company also operates a Gulfstream IV, two Challenger 601s, a Challenger 300, Citation Sovereign, Hawker 800XP, Citation CJ3, Citation CJ1, three Phenom 100s and a Citation II.
Port Gets More Funds to Improve
The Shelter Island Boat Launch
The Port of San Diego has been awarded a $3.35 million grant from the California Natural Resources Agency, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Board for the Shelter Island Boat Launch Facility Improvement Project.
It is the second grant awarded to the Port for the project. In November 2015, the California Division of Boating & Waterways gave $6.1 million.
Both grants will help fund the estimated $9.5 million needed for the project.The project will improve the launch ramp’s basin by enlarging its maneuvering area, replacing the worn-out launch ramp, increasing the lengths of the boarding floats, providing a concrete drop-off area for kayaks, and bringing the restroom to current ADA (Americans with Disability Act) standards.
Marshall Merrifield, chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners, said the launch ramp is the most widely used one on San Diego Bay and may be the busiest in California with an estimated 50,000 launches annually. It was constructed in the mid-1950s with a single-lane concrete launch ramp. Its last major improvement was completed in the mid-1970s when the existing 10-lane boat launching ramp was constructed.
When completed, the new launch facility basin will be 80 percent larger. The new entry/exit point will increase from 25 feet to 60 feet. Additionally, new walkways and public viewing platforms will be included, and a separate area for hand-launched watercraft will be added.
Sycuan Tribe Completes Major
Water Conservation Program
The Sycuan Tribe in El Cajon reports that it has completed a major reduction in overall water usage through an aggressive conservation program that includes retrofitting irrigation equipment, removing and replacing water-dependent landscaping and increasing awareness around the importance of water conservation.
Tribal Chairman Cody Martinez said the program has reduced the tribe’s reliance on groundwater at the golf course and resort by 25 percent and cut water use on properties within the Padre Dam and Otay municipal water districts by an average of 22 percent.
Projects on the original Sycuan Indian Reservation completed to date include the removal of more than 25,000 square feet of turf and replacement with drought-tolerant xeriscape landscaping or mulch; the replacement of more than 5,000 sprinkler nozzles; and the replacement of 35 irrigation clocks with “smart clocks” that self-adjust to real-time weather for more efficient use. Key staff members have also obtained EPA-recognized industry certifications to strengthen their knowledge of water conservation and reduction measures.
“During the first year of the program, we strategically and aggressively pursued a number of projects to reduce, reuse and reclaim our precious water resources,” said Jim Park, assistant director of landscaping. “We have doubled the lands irrigated with reclaimed water and converted high-water usage irrigation systems to drip, increasing efficiency from 40 to 90 percent in those areas. The installation of xeriscape landscaping has further resulted in a more than 50 percent reduction of water use throughout those properties.”
The tribe’s work has been recognized by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which has provided more than $65,000 in rebates to support the water conservation program.
Solar’s Real Cost Averages
$18,675 for California Homes
Times of San Diego
How much does it really cost to convert your home to solar power? A new study estimates the average cost in California was $18,675 last year after typical incentives.
The study by Solar to the People found wide variability throughout the state. Installations averaged only $16,212 in the Central Coast, but the cost rose to $20,698 in Shasta County near the Oregon border.
San Diego County came in near the average at $18,540.
“California is the top state in the U.S. for residential solar,” the study said. “But one question remains for many homeowners — how much does solar actually cost?”
Earlier studies found that the cost of installing solar averaged $15,137 in New York and $20,180 in Massachusetts.
The study noted that California has the highest electricity cost on the West Coast, and one of the highest in the country, making solar an attractive option even at thousands of dollars in upfront costs.
Solar to the People is a San Diego-based company that compiles detailed information on solar power nationwide and provides price quotes from multiple qualified solar installers.