In a world where ride-hailing is as easy as tapping the screen of your smartphone, you need something really "heavy" to break the monotony. Merlin Batchelor, a resident in Norwich, U.K. has done this remarkably with his "tank taxi." For about $1000 a trip, you can hire him for a special occasion.
Usually, we bring you bizarre stories where individuals have engineered something out of the old. Like a truck retrofitted with a jet engine and capable of clocking speeds over 350 miles an hour. However, in this case, it is just the ingenuity of the idea. You own a tank, you flaunt it and others definitely want a ride. You have engineered a side hustle.
Before we head further, it is not really a tank. Remember the 84-year old who was fined $300,000 for owning one? Yes, owning a tank can really get you in trouble.
What Batchelor has is an armored personnel carrier (APC). It is a heavy-duty vehicle meant to be used in combat zones to ferry people and cargo. But you can't really use it in combat. It doesn't have the necessary firepower to take on the big wigs of the battlefield. Look ma, no guns! But Batchelor prefers to call it a "tank" simply because it sounds good.
Even though his name is Merlin, he is no magician. Like you and me, he buys things on the internet and even got the APC there. Even our octogenarian above had bought his tank in the U.K. if you remember. Who needs the dark web, when you have the U.K.?
Apparently, Norwich is open to track vehicles roaming on the streets, Forbes reported. So, when Batchelor took his tank for rides around the city, people were keen to hop in for a ride. The vehicle can't move past 20 mph and is quite loud too but that did not stop from asking them to be ferried around and the "tank taxi" was born.
Batchelor painted the exteriors of his 15-ton ride and redid the interiors to fit in a flat-screen TV. All in, he had spent over $35,000, according to this CBS report. He began offering his tax rides for about $830 for the first hour and $275 for every hour thereafter and people were keen. His neighbor hired him for the wedding and Batchelor has secured a license to ferry up to nine people inside his special taxi for funerals too. That's bound to be an interesting funeral to attend.
He hopes that his license can be extended to include proms and birthday parties.
Birthday inside the tank. Will let your imagination take over from here.