Recession Ride Taxi Service: “Pay What You Want”

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Eric Hagen may be the nicest cab driver ever. Perhaps he’s the smartest too. A full-time employee at the American Red Cross in Burlington, Vermont, Hagen recently started a new business: Recession Ride Taxi. He printed some business cards, and put the words “Pay What You Want!” on the back of the SUV that doubles as his taxi.

As you might guess, business is pretty good. Hagen, via The Burlington Free Press, says that he’s never been stiffed. Nearly all of his patrons have paid him decent fares. One gave him a CD. Another passed along a supermarket card with $10 on it, which Egan deemed fair compensation.

For Egan’s repeat customers, every seventh ride is free. The guy even keeps a cooler in the car packed with Gatorades and water bottles, and of course, he asks that riders pay whatever they can for them.

You won’t find this sort of business model in any economics class, but from my perspective, this is recession-era innovation at its finest.