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If you’re planning on ending a fun night in Austin with a safe ride home from Uber or Lyft, think again – these services no longer operate in the Texas capital.
When the Austin City Council passed an ordinance in December 2015 requiring the ride-sharing services to fingerprint drivers as a background check – a measure required of the city’s taxi cab drivers – Uber and Lyft fought hard against the proposition, stating they already perform sufficient background checks on their drivers.
After being put to a vote, 56 percent of Austinites voted to support the city council’s ordinance. Both Uber and Lyft immediately stopped service in Austin, leaving drivers without work and riders scrambling to find a safe ride home. However, it wasn’t long before new ride-sharing companies began to sprout up in Austin to fill the void.
Check out these apps to find a safe ride home in Austin.
Fare is one of the most customizable ride-sharing apps on the market. Enjoyed your ride with a particular driver? You can add them to your preferred driver list to request them again in the future. Want to make sure you get a ride to the airport at 5 a.m.? You can schedule and confirm your ride ahead of time. Fare also offers a variety of sizes and classes of cars you can request, from the basic four-door Fare to the luxury Elite+ options that can carry seven passengers in style. The lowest rate you will pay for a Fare as a rider is a $2 base fee, .25¢ per minute/$1.20 per mile, and a $2 Fare fee, with a $5 minimum and $5 cancellation fee.
Locals suggest that Fasten is the most stable and well-staffed ride-sharing app in the Austin market right now. You have the option to “boost” your ride to find a ride faster for a higher cost during the busiest times – meaning no more surprise surges. For the cheapest Fasten option, you will pay a $1.10 base fee, .19¢ per minute/$1.10 per mile, and a $2 ride fee, with a $6 ride minimum and $5 late cancellation fee.
RideAustin is unique in that it is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization. Austin’s booming tech community built the app, and you have the option to round up your trip fare to donate the change to a local nonprofit. Once popular enough, RideAustin hopes to expand their philanthropy to provide free and reduced-priced rides for low-income disabled and elderly riders. For a four-door regular ride, you can expect to pay a $1.50 base fee, .25¢ per minute/.99¢ per mile, a $1.50 booking fee, and a one percent Austin TNC fee, with a $5 minimum and $5 cancellation fee – making this one of the cheapest ride options in Austin.
Get Me provides more than an option of getting you from point A to point B; they also provide a range of delivery services, from picking up your food to providing you with a truck to move large items. You can even request a limo, for those extra special nights out. The minimum you will pay for a night ride (after 10 p.m.) is a $3 base fee, .30¢ per minute/$1.50 per mile, with an undisclosed ride minimum and cancellation fee. Fees vary based on the time of day you request your ride and what type of vehicle you request. Get Me operates in five cities in Texas, so it could be a great option if you’re continuing your trip onto Houston, San Antonio, or Dallas and only want to download one app.
It’s important to note that Austin aims to be a green city and also has options for non-vehicular transportation readily available, especially if you are staying in the downtown area. It is not difficult to come by a pedicab, usually accompanied by loud music and glowing lights. You can also check out Austin B-cycle, which allows you to rent bikes for an hourly fee and return them to one of the many racks located around town.
Learn more about the other struggles you may face while visiting Austin or check out a practical guide to Austin from a local’s perspective to properly prepare for your trip.