What started out as a five-month agreement with the Hub Madison apartment complex for Amir Morning, founder and owner of the Madtown Hopper, has since expanded to allow the addition of two new cars to the Hopper fleet.
The Madtown Hopper is a startup service in downtown Madison focused on eliminating drunk driving by providing safe, fun and free rides home during special events, at bar close and on game days.
With upbeat music, flashing lights and an all-around happy atmosphere, Morning originally designed the Hopper to appeal to college students and young people, but has discovered that older riders, including parents, enjoy the service as well.
The Madtown Hopper is now looking to add sponsors to the additional cars.
“The idea is to find sponsors to advertise on the Hoppers, and tie the fun, exciting experience to these companies,” Morning said.
Since the company’s founding, Morning has financed this project himself with money he saved up from various side jobs.
“Initially I was paying for everything,” Morning said. “Then when Hub Madison realized what I was doing, they stepped in.”
Marketers from the Hub decided the Madtown Hopper would be a unique way to advertise the apartment complex.
“The Hub is doing such a great thing,” Morning noted. “Their sponsorship is allowing us to expand the Hopper, and essentially doing a lot for the city of Madison.”
With three cars, the Madtown Hopper provides about 450 free rides a night.
“People recognize what a great thing we are doing, and genuinely want to help people get home safely,” Morning explained.
Drivers of the Hopper are all volunteers, but Morning said he hopes to eventually have the funds to compensate drivers for their time.
The ultimate goal, Morning said, is to expand to other college cities.
“This is a service Madison appreciates,” he said. “If it works well here, I don’t see why this can’t be service on all campuses.”