"What is a going rate for transportation from a hostel?"
That depends on many factors, such as where the hostel is, where you're going, and whether or not you want to picked up and/or have the driver wait for you (if it's a dayhike).
"Would Quito be just as good of a location to base from?"
Quito is a good base for things like Pichincha, Corazon (though it's a long day), Atacazo and the like. But not for things like Cotopaxi (although you could be driven there and then picked up the next day), and certainly not for Chimborazo.
"Could Norte be climbed from La virgen?"
Sure. As I recall, it was about 2-3 hours of hiking up to the hut (we were carrying full packs for doing both Norte and Sur). So, yes, a dayhike of Norte from La Virgen is totally reasonable (if you're acclimated).
"My partner and i where thinking of going with a guide company to help with logistics but the books and information i have reading make it seem like the ground work, getting to the peaks can be done on our own with some planning before hand."
I've never used a guide for anything. Don't believe in it, frankly. A huge part of "climbing" a mountain, to me, is the entire package experience; that is, planning, carrying, problem solving, etc., and of course doing all the physical leg-work, overcoming technical challenges, determining whether to continue on or turn back, and whatnot.
That said, Ecuador is very climber-friendly. Just do the research, and if you have the skills and experience, go after peaks that inspire you.