Bradshaw is hailing a Taxi On Demand career

Former UT basketball favorite has new venture

Former University of Tennessee basketball player Dane
Bradshaw is congratulated by UT Athletics Director Mike
Hamilton in February after Bradshaw was named to the
All-Century UT men’s basketball team.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Former University of Tennessee basketball player Dane Bradshaw is congratulated by UT Athletics Director Mike Hamilton in February after Bradshaw was named to the All-Century UT men’s basketball team.

Former Tennessee basketball fan favorite Dane Bradshaw believes he's on the road to success with his new business venture.

Bradshaw is president and part-owner of Taxi On Demand, a new service that provides prepaid Discover Network Cards that can only be used for taxi rides.

The concept, aimed at parents interested in ensuring their young drivers' safety away from home, was developed by John Thornton Jr.

Thornton is a former University of Tennessee tennis player who now is head tennis coach at Tennessee Wesleyan College. He is the son of John "Thunder" Thornton, a well-known UT booster who once served on the university's board of trustees.

It was Thornton who sought out Bradshaw after the crowd-pleasing basketball player spent his first year out of Tennessee playing professionally in Holland.

"Mr. Thornton has been a coach for me in the business world, and a great friend and mentor," said Bradshaw, who has a bachelor's degree in communication and information and a master's in sport management from UT.

"I was fortunate after my senior year to have nice job offers on the table, but they were things that could wait until I was finished playing basketball," said Bradshaw, who continues to play pickup games with current Vols and participates in the summertime Rocky Top League at Bearden High School. "When I was approached with this offer, this was a company that was going to go on with or without me.

"It was such a unique opportunity and a great cause; that's what intrigues me the most."

Bradshaw was hired by Thornton last July and has spent the past year setting up the company.

The Taxi cards, which are sold with values of $35, $50, $100 and $200, are run on the Discover Network and can be used in any cab in the country that accepts Discover.

"Discover has been tremendous partners, as they have allowed us to trim down the code so the card can only be used for taxis," Bradshaw said. "If you try to use the card for anything else, it will get declined."

Taxi On Demand has created a data base that consumers can reach by calling 888-4TODTAXI (888-486-3829) to find taxis in their area.

"You call the number, enter the area code, and an automated voice will prompt you to connect to various taxi companies," Bradshaw said. "People don't think Knoxville has any taxis, but there are over 20 companies in the area."

Bradshaw said Taxi On Demand already has gained interest from his meetings with insurance company State Farm and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Some test cards were put out into the market, and Bradshaw said the results have been encouraging.

"The fun is just beginning now that we have a product we can put out to the public that can save some lives," Bradshaw, 25, said. "We gave some test cards out to (college) kids, and they've said they would have ridden with a drunk driver or maybe even drove themselves without it. Kids aren't willing to spend an extra 10 bucks for a safe ride.

I enjoy doing public speaking engagements here and there, and putting on basketball camps. But politics have never been something I've looked at; those guys have a tough job.

Dane Bradshaw

"But it's not just for drinking and driving, it's for college girls who carry a can of mace at night to walk back to their dorms from the library. This is a safety card that provides parents a certain peace of mind."

The 20company is based in Chattanooga, but Bradshaw works out of Knoxville. He expects the company to expand as the business grows.

Many have suggested that the ever-popular Bradshaw - who already has authored a book titled "Vertical Leap" - consider a future in politics.

"I enjoy doing public speaking engagements here and there, and putting on basketball camps," Bradshaw said. "But politics have never been something I've looked at; those guys have a tough job.

"I've also been asked about coaching or broadcasting, and those are things I might do in the future."

For now, Bradshaw has his hands full as the driving force behind Taxi On Demand.

"It's taken us a long time to get everything together for this,'' Bradshaw said. "You have your ups and downs, like with anything, but you keep on going and we finally have the Taxi On Demand cards available.''

Bradshaw and other Taxi On Demand associates will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday at the Chattanoogan Hotel in Chattanooga to formally launch the operation.

Mike Griffith may be reached at 865-342-6289.

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Comments » 4

makessense writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

good idea ive been dying to go to a NIT game

DUMB ------

pms151 writes:

This an article or a free commercial for one of the good ole boys?

VOLKING writes:

in response to MorristownVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Do you EVER have anything positive to say? I bet you sure are a lot of fun at parties too. On the other hand, if Josh Selby really did de-commit tonight, then trouble may be lurking ahead.

txsvol#372416 writes:

It seems that the business model is designed to protect student drinkers, so the business should be primarily on weekends, and perhaps, when students without cars arrive at airports. Thus, the need will be there as long as there are college students away from home who cannot phone a friend to come get them. The business model is a prepaid debit card, so there may be a great deal of money to be made (if interest rates ever go up) between the time of purchase and the time of use. Any unused cards represent 'found money' by Taxi On Demand. FWIW, my wife made an over and back trip to Nashville last week, and she talked with the limo driver who has ferried her to and from the airport for many of her business trips. 'Butch' mentioned that his taxi business has been impacted adversely by the reduction in business travel because of the economic slow down, as well as new online sites like 'gotomeeting.com' and webinars. The day following her trip, I saw one of Butch's colleagues waiting for a "Mrs. Gotrocks" at a boarding kennel/training site where I was buying dog food last week. My guess is that a prepaid taxi service for students in college towns is a no-brainer. Now, how much money will it take to get preferred taxi sites near the Strip and similar locations? Go Vols! SAVol

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