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Econ 919 — E.T.'s Taxi

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Hunter Morrison
Ethan Hansen stands next to his taxi

If you’re in need of taxi services, there are few options on the Kenai Peninsula to choose from. But, a new taxi service in the form of a one-man operation recently made its debut in the area.

E.T.'s Taxi has serviced the peninsula since January, providing rides for about 100 people so far. Owner Ethan Hansen, nicknamed E.T. by his older sister, is a former driver for Alaska Cab and says he would have to pay $130 each day to lease a vehicle from the company.

“I was staring out the windshield every night and asking myself, ‘Why am I paying these guys to drive a taxi?’ So I went and bought a business license and that’s what started the ball rolling. I own my own car so I don’t have to pay a lease and started doing it for myself,” he said.

Hansen was an auto mechanic for 20 years before making a move to the taxi industry. He first got a taste of taxi driving about three years ago when he inquired about mechanic positions at Alaska Cab. Although no such roles were available, he soon became a driver for the company.

While Hansen says he loved his time with Alaska Cab, he was ready to venture out on his own.

“I’m my own guy, I can choose my own hours, I can do what I want," Hansen said. "I don’t have to worry about someone looking over my shoulder and telling me what I can and can’t do.” 

Hansen says starting his new business was relatively easy. Since operating, he says he’s saving $2,400 a month on lease payments alone. The startup cost for his new business was only $1,700.

The most difficult part of starting his business was finding an insurance company that would provide coverage for a taxi. He says he had to resort to an insurance company out of state.

Although Hansen services the Kenai Peninsula, his business mostly provides rides in the Kenai-Soldotna area. He says his busiest hours are Friday and Saturday nights when bar crowds are at their peak. When competing against a larger taxi company, Hansen has to choose the locations he services strategically.

“I get to drive a couple hundred miles a day, and just do what I want," he said. "It’s really fantastic. I go and sit at the airport and get people who come out and flag me. I take them to Ninilchik, or Homer, or Seward or just around the block, just downtown. It’s really awesome just enjoying the freedom of being a taxi driver.”

Hansen’s favorite part of being a taxi driver is meeting new people. He says since pursuing the profession on the Kenai Peninsula, he’s provided rides for people from all over the world. He hopes to continue doing so with E.T.’s Taxi.

“I just hope they enjoy the ride, and just know that they’re going to get to where they need to go safely,” Hansen said.

E.T.’s Taxi is a new member of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, something Hansen hopes will help increase awareness of his business. You can find more information about E.T.’s Taxi on the chamber's website.

Hunter Morrison is a news reporter at KDLL
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