When Uber and Lyft left Austin in May, many students didn’t have to deal with the change as they went home for the summer shortly after. Now that everyone’s back to school and the fall parties are in full swing, students will need some new ridehailing options for those nights when no one volunteers to be the designated driver. Check out these four new apps that can fill the void Uber and Lyft left behind.
With a regular rate of $1.15 per mile, Fasten is currently the cheapest ridehailing app in Austin. The secret to the low fees is Fasten’s business model. While other ridehailing apps charge drivers a percentage of a trip’s fare, Fasten charges them 99 cents per ride, resulting in lower fares for riders and more profits for drivers.
“Riders want to pay less, and drivers want to make more,” Fasten co-founder Vlad Christoff said. “Our decision to charge a fee is how we reconcile those two ends, and it’s why we’ve been the No. 1 ridesharing app in Austin since we launched in June.”
In addition to low rates, Fasten is also the only app to offer a live meter to predict how much a passenger’s trip will cost before they request the ride. Although the rates are lower and more transparent than competitors, passengers should be prepared for a bit of a wait.
“My rides with Fasten have had waits of 10 to 15 minutes,” architecture junior Diane Hermes said. “I think it’s because they don’t have as many drivers, and the ones [that] do are all driving for at least three other apps, which spreads them pretty thin.”
Fare is the second-cheapest option with a base charge of $1.20 per mile, but what it really prides itself on is its deep pool of available drivers — which results in shorter waits for pick-ups. CEO Michael Leto said Fare is in the special position of having the largest number of registered drivers in the city, and they’re actively working to maintain those numbers. Fare’s rising popularity hasn’t come without its share of
“Several times when I’ve tried to use Fare, my ride has canceled at the last minute,” electrical engineering senior Samuel Kapust said. “People are figuring out that Fare is one of the quicker apps, but this means that everyone is requesting Fares on Thursday night and it has the opposite effect on their speed.”
To combat this problem, Fare offers the only reservation option among the ridehailing apps. To make sure a rider is present exactly when he or she will be needed, passengers can reserve rides up to seven days in advance.
Austin’s most recent addition to its selection of ridehailing services is also the only nonprofit app. It is slightly more expensive than Fasten and Fare with a base charge of $1.50 per mile, but it gives passengers the opportunity to round up their fares and donate them to a local charity. Ride Austin has received a warm welcome from students so far.
“Every time I’ve used Ride Austin, it’s been super smooth and convenient,” history junior Elissa Garza said. “I’ve taken it to Sixth Street and the Austin PRIDE festival, and every time the driver showed up in about seven minutes, and the ride came out to seven or eight bucks before any promo discounts.”
Ride Austin has more drivers picking up passengers because drivers are beginning to choose to drive for them during peak hours.
“Ride Austin has been offering really sweet incentives to new drivers, like a $500 reward for completing 50 rides in 30 days,” said Jennifer Stroud, a driver for Ride Austin, Fare and Fasten. “That makes people like me, who drive for multiple services, actively try to accept rides for theirs in particular.”