Missing the convenience of Uber and Lyft? You are not alone. But don’t despair—Austin was never going to wallow in their departure for long. Other TNCs are here and ready to fill the void (acronym alert! a TNC is a Transportation Network Company, aka ridesharing service).
Within a few weeks of the Proposition One vote in May (after which Uber and Lyft decided to pack it up and leave their more than 10,000 Austin drivers high and dry), we now have several new ridesharing companies on the scene. Here are some of the most popular, with pros and cons:
A much smaller but more employee-friendly company that does do finger print checks on its drivers. With roughly 700 drivers now and growing every day, they are quickly adapting to the Austin scene. The app still has some kinks in it– the drivers say it isn’t as easy to use as the Uber one, which was linked to Google maps. Fare rides are also more expensive. We have used it once and it was an easy, successful ride.
InstaRyde. Launched in early July, the Canadian-based InstaRyde’s model seeks to provide Austin’s “ryders” with a 5-star experience and promises lower minimum fares and zero surge-time increases (inflated rates during events like SXSW and festival season where ridership is at its highest). They stress safety as a priority by using local and national databases for employee prescreening as well as monitoring driving records for drivers.
. Formed as a nonprofit and led by billionaire Austin tech giant and Trilogy founder Joe Liemandt, this TNC is on the up and up and requires background checks and finger printing.
Get Me. One of the first companies to fill the Uber/Lyft void, but it was off to a bumpy start. Riders reported long wait times and when they cancelled because of this, they were charged costly cancellation fees. Deserves a second chance, though, as it was trying to fill some pretty big shoes and needed time to adjust.
. A more underground (i.e. possibly illegal) approach to ride sharing, this is a Facebook group that you join and post ride requests. Overall, it tends to be running smoothly and is less expensive than Fare. You just have to be OK with the fact that every time you post for a ride, everyone in the FB group can see where you are and where you want to go. We have also used this one and it was easy and quick.
. Quickly emerging as one of the most reliable TNCs in town, this Boston-originated company has just launched their app and it has been said to be off to a successful start. With thousands of Austin drivers already employed, the company is known for treating its drivers well.
There are others, too, like that just provides airport rides, but these are the top contenders for now. The Uber and Lyft mega-companies may be gone, but rest assured that you will not be stuck without a ride.