Take one 1979 Checker Cab, nine lasers, six black lights, 800 feet of fiber optics, flowing neon, dry-ice fog effects, a Yamaha keyboard and digital drums, one Toshiba 2130CT laptop computer, one Kodak DC-50 digital camera, two Nokia cellular phones, one Apex cellular modem, and one very imaginative driver, and what have you got? As Barnes describes it, "a legal hallucination for children of all ages."
While cruising the streets of Aspen, Colo., Barnes dazzles his customers with lighting and sound effects. The ride costs $75 and takes 30 minutes, but the memories will last a lifetimeâ€"for no sooner than the ride is over, Barnes is busy uploading the digital photos he has just taken of youâ€"and his celebrity faresâ€"to his Web site.
So what's a cabbie doing on the Web? "The Internet is a very interesting medium for me," Barnes says. "I see the Internet as a new, emerging form of media that will eventually have world-famous personalities because of it."
And from the sound of it, Barnes is hoping to become one of those personalities, revving up his Ultimate Taxi home page to line up sponsorships, gigs at corporate events, and media appearances. (Barnes, not surprisingly, is willing to travel.) Talk about a cool, self-promotional vehicle!