4 New Ridesharing Companies Trying to Fill the Void Left By Uber/Lyft

Uber and Lyft have left Austin since a ballot proposition that would have lifted an onerous pending City ordinance protecting taxi companies failed to pass.

Austin wanted fingerprint background checks which take longer and are more costly than the background checks Uber and Lyft perform and which scare off some drivers. The City Council has separately opposed employers even asking about criminal histories. And both the Travis County Sheriff and Austin Police Chief argued against the rules because Uber and Lyft have made Austin safer, not less safe.

Less-reported are that the City is set to take 1% of gross revenues from ridesharing, and also ‘geofence’ off areas where ridesharing services couldn’t pick up and drop off passengers — reserving the most convenient spots at festivals, for instance, for cabs.

I love competition, which is one reason I’ve favored Lyft of late (another is that there have been more drivers close by with Lyft than Uber for me lately). So I’m thrilled that at least four ridesharing companies are trying to pick up the business that Uber and Lyft left behind.

  1. Tulsa-based Tride is coming to Austin.

  2. Boston-based Fasten is going to as well even though it wasn’t in their business plan.

  3. Wingz, which I used to get home from the airport, requires you to set up rides two hours in advance and only does airport trips but is planning to expand the service. Today was my driver’s first day driving with Wingz and shared that the CEO told drivers at orientation they planned to go beyond airport rides within 30 days.

  4. GetMe is the only on-demand ridesharing service that’s up and running, but when I tried to use them to get to the airport on Monday they couldn’t match me to a driver after 10 minutes. I wound up using the ‘Hail-a-cab app’ but since that only gets you rides from one taxi company it took almost 10 minutes to assign a cab and it started off 20 blocks away.

You can still use Uber and Lyft, sort of. Though that’s not going to be practical for many trips. And there are other companies out there, with limited geographic reach (like Summon which offers pre-scheduled rides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Arcade City isn’t ready to re-launch its app, but they’ve got an Austin Facebook page where people can connect who need rides and who can offer them. (These are pre-scheduled, rather than on-demand rides at this point.)

So this is from Arcade City, and it’s really disturbing:

Hopefully one of these will companies reliable enough for me in Austin that I don’t have to buy a car. I’d just love for them to hurry up and scale up!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Love your blog, Gary. But, why are you obsessed with posting about Lyft/Uber in Austin? I doubt this is relevant to a vast majority of your readership.

    If you do insist on posting about it, how about listing other cities that have had similar issues?

  2. @Gary Its amazing how you are ALL for free market, but as SOON as the market is WORKING, and you see companies decide to leave Austin because they don’t want to play by the rules put in place by the populous, you seem to do nothing but complain non-stop about how the market chose WRONG. What you are seeing here is exactly what SHOULD be happening; when a city decides upon regulation, and a company doesn’t like it, others who WILL agree to it move in. VFTW is guaranteed to have the following this year; complaints about the TSA (warranted), complaints about people who have bare feet (unwarranted), and ride-sharing in Austin (maybe 1 post?).

  3. @Omar Houston has fingerprinting rules, Lyft has left and Uber threatens to. New York has it, but it’s a big enough market they can impose most whatever rules they wish. I’ve written about this issue, eventually China gets to set rules for ridesharing…

  4. @joelfreak i’m not sure in what planet you can call the imposition of government regulation ‘the market working’

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