updated 8/3/2009 3:39:27 PM ET 2009-08-03T19:39:27

When Eric Hagen started Recession Ride Taxi in Essex, Vt., he took more questions than fares.

Everyone wanted to know if the sign reading "Pay What You Want!" on the back of his taxi in this town was for real. It is, and Hagen says he hasn't been shortchanged yet.

He offers pay-what-you-can bottles of water, Gatorade and soda and a free ride after six paid fares. He tells the Burlington Free Press that business has been good.

CD as fare
Most of his transactions are in cash. But he's also gotten a CD from a musician and a $10 supermarket card.

Hagen has been offering his taxi service Thursday through Sunday nights since June. When he's not a taxi driver, the 46-year-old Hagen works full time for the American Red Cross.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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