United States citizens have the right to travel where they want, when they want - unless they're incarcerated. But some people don't have the transportation to visit their loved ones who are behind bars.
Sunshine Travel Lines LLC, a brand new van service out of Prescott Valley, provides just such transportation.
"We take, wait, and bring you back for one fee, on your schedule," said owner Warren Hawes.
Hawes, who worked for the mining company in Bagdad for 40 years until retirement two years ago, started the van service with wife, Peggy, because they saw a need for transportation to a variety of out-of-town events from shopping to professional sports. But Yavapai County closing the Prescott jail and moving all inmates to Camp Verde was the catalyst.
"Since the Prescott jail closed, it's hard for people to see their loved ones in Camp Verde," said Peggy, who managed the Prescott Valley Motel at one time, and also ran an ice cream truck route. "(Statistics show) inmates who get visitors are happier and more well-behaved. It calms them down."
The 14-year residents of Prescott Valley said they "heard things" about the need for transportation for jail visitations.
With three children and 10 grandchildren, the couple is family-oriented. Peggy noted that families become victims when their loved ones do something wrong. Jail visits help them stay connected.
"One little 3-year-old girl wanted to see if her mom had shoes (in jail)," Peggy said.
"A wife had no transportation after her husband got arrested and their car was impounded," Warren said.
They schedule weekday visits to the county jail and weekend visits to prisons. "People in town were asking friends to take off work to take them, which makes a work record look bad," said Warren.
"Some people just have trouble driving that far (very often)," Peggy added.
To economize, the couple urges folks to organize trips with others who need a ride.
This goes for scheduling a day of shopping, a trip to a ball game, waterpark or museum, concert or theatre, or anything else a person might want to do in Phoenix, including travel connections.
"We'll take them on short notice if we're available," Warren said. "We don't need a month's notice. We're here to serve."
"And it's not a problem for us to get up early," Peggy said, laughing.
They even have a special line for Spanish-speaking clients, which their daughter-in-law answers. They can accommodate people wanting to catch a 6 a.m. shuttle out of Phoenix to Mexico.
Reach Sunshine Travel Lines at 928-925-4800 (English) or 928-925-5073 (Habla Español).