Ski towns are known for their quirky, sometimes bizarre stories (remember when Aspen's Ferrari owners claimed they were being discriminated against by local police?). But one of the quirkiest (and most entertaining!) ski town residents is without a doubt Jon Barnes, owner of the Aspen-based Ultimate Taxi. Originally from New York, Barnes takes Colorado visitors on a 45-minute "musical adventure" around Aspen. Part rock concert, part light show, the Ultimate Taxi is a 1978 Checker Marathan with over 500,000 miles, 900 LED lights, lasers, blacklights, an audio mixing board, mini-strobes, a dry ice fog machine, a keyboard, drums, and bumpin' sound system. There's even a toy store in the trunk. It's ski country's take on NYC's Cash Cab but with 3D glasses instead of trivia. And it's awesome.
Mr. Barnes moved to Aspen in 1979 and started driving his taxi in 1983, gradually adding lights, music, and more. He calls his unique taxi "the only recording studio, theater, nightclub, planetarium, toy store, internet connected taxi in the world." For 25 years he's been an iconic figure on Aspen's streets, entertaining visitors and an impressive list of celebrities (think George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, and Dan Marino). Barnes also has an impeccable driving record, which is quite the feat given how difficult it must be to drive, run a light show, and play instruments all at once.
Each taxi ride costs around $200 for a 45-minute musical adventure. But like any new venture in the 21st century, Barnes just launched a Kickstarter campaign to build a new taxi as his current Checker is 36 years old and the body and frame is falling apart. Barnes aims to build a new taxi over the next year and is seeking $50,000 to fund the project. Want to help create the next generation of the Ultimate taxi? Head over here.
Take a look at the photos and Go Pro video below and then tell us Curbediverse, have you ever taken a ride in the Ultimate Taxi? Let us know in the comments or send your photos here.
· The Ultimate Taxi [Official Site]
· The ride of your life [Aspen Times Weekly]
· Mapping the 10 Cheapest Aspen Homes For Sale Right Now [Curbed Ski]
· First Look Inside Aspen's Bonkers $89 Million Koch Compound [Curbed Ski]
· Take a Tour Through Aspen Snowmass in 1967 [Curbed Ski]