Cab Service, Tailored To Meet UW Student Needs, Enters Competitive Market In Madison

Madtown Hopper's Founder Gives Rides In Electric Car For Free, Relying On Tips For Income

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The Madtown Hopper drives customers down State Street in downtown Madison. Photo courtesy of Madtown Hopper.

As vehicle-for-hire and ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft spark political debate for unregulated operation in Madison, a new transportation business has entered the market: the Madtown Hopper.

Amir Morning created the Madtown Hopper with a particular customer in mind.

“I used to be a college student; I was really broke,” Morning said. “We’ve all been there. At that age, you don’t want to spend all your money on food and school supplies and not have fun. In your 20s, you’re never going to be 20 again, so I understand where people want to spend their money.”

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According to Morning, cab services are not something students want to spend money on. That’s why he doesn’t charge for rides in the Madtown Hopper, an electric car he operates as a taxi in downtown Madison.

Morning started the business about two months ago, and the only money he’s making comes from tips. He said people tip well because they appreciate the free service, which also plays music and has flashing LED lights.

There was no language governing a business like the Hopper in Madison’s taxi ordinance, so Morning worked with Alderman Scott Resnick to get the necessary language added.

“Amir is someone who makes Madison special. And I think we should be encouraging these types of businesses to open and operate,” Resnick said.

Phil Anderson, general manager of Green Cab in Madison, who has been critical of Uber and Lyft services in the city, said he welcomes the new competition.

“We feel that competition is good for the market in Madison, as long as everybody’s following current city ordinances,” Anderson said.

Amir Morning knows his target audience will be returning in droves to Madison in the next few weeks. He hopes to have three more vehicles purchased and sponsorship deals signed soon.

Correction: This story originally called the company that Phil Anderson belongs to Green City Cab. The name of the company is actually Green Cab.

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