Austin passengers nervous about weekend without Uber, Lyft

Uber and Lyft passengers say they feel like they've lost a lifeline - and aren't sure how they'll get around town this weekend (KXAN Photo)
Uber and Lyft passengers say they feel like they've lost a lifeline - and aren't sure how they'll get around town this weekend (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With their Uber and Lyft apps disabled, Austin passengers say they’ve lost a lifeline.

“We’ve been walking around for the last hour-and-a-half, when we would’ve been using Uber,” said Jonny Blake, an Austin local. “It’s a problem, I feel like it’s going to have more of an impact than just convenience, I think it’s actually going to end up causing a lot more drunk driving accidents. Parking is already treacherous here as it is. I don’t know why we had to regulate an awesome service.”

Two women visiting from Houston tell KXAN they weren’t aware the ridesharing companies left town.They say they’ve been using the bus to get around.

“Uber is my crutch, extremely convenient,” said another visitor from Houston. “I didn’t know how to function without Uber, I had five meetings today.”

While passengers may be feeling stuck, other companies are trying to get them moving again.

“So far Get Me is super busy, I haven’t had downtime for one second,” said Pere Egbi, a driver for Get Me, another ridesharing service.

Egbi says he made $600 on his first day in Austin.

Another new company in town, Wingz, is also ramping up efforts to get more drivers on the road.

“The demand has been overwhelming,” said CEO Chris Brandon. “The first day-and-a-half, our apps have been ringing nonstop, that’s why we’ve been scrambling so hard to get drivers on the app.”

Brandon says they were planning on a soft opening this past Monday, but after hearing about Lyft and Uber pulling out, the company flew in a bigger team to get more drivers on board.

Wingz works a little differently than Uber, Lyft and Get Me. They require at least two hours advanced booking and currently only take riders to and from the airport. However, due to the added demand, they plan on expanding the service, offering rides anywhere in town.

“It’s all about us trying to work together and serve the residents of Austin, because if we can do that everyone will be happy.”

On Friday another ridesharing app, Fasten, announced it will launch in Austin sooner than planned.

Now passengers must decide if they’ll adopt new options or wait and see if Uber and Lyft return.

“I’ll probably stay at home now because I’m not going to fight the parking and I’m not going to drive drunk,” said Blake. “So the bars are kind of going to lose I guess.”

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