Chariot brings crowdsourced shuttle service to Downtown Austin

Chariot passenger photo (Courtesy: Chariot)
Chariot passenger photo (Courtesy: Chariot)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new shuttle service based on crowdsourcing launches its first official trip in downtown Austin Monday, Oct. 10.

Chariot, a San Francisco-based company, says they are working with the City of Austin, Rocky Mountain Institute, Movability Austin and CapMetro to launch in Austin—its first market outside the Bay Area. The launch will be initially focused in the downtown corridor, specifically the MetroRail Downtown stop and the area of West Sixth Street near North Lamar Boulevard. The company says the roll-out will be centered around the hundreds of employees at Whole Foods and GSD&M. The cost will initially be “free” to riders whose employers are subsidizing the cost (e.g. Whole Foods).

“This is exactly the kind of tech-enabled transportation option that’s going to give Austinites more ways to get around town in a way that will address traffic congestion,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler in a press release. “Hats off to Whole Foods and GSD&M for supporting for their employees, and a big Austin welcome to Chariot. By helping people get to work, they are helping Austin move in the right direction.”

How does Chariot work?

If you take the MetroRail to the Downtown station but work at Whole Foods on West Sixth Street, the walk would be 1-mile and take approximately 20 minutes (unless you’re a speed walker). When it’s 100 degrees outside, that’s probably not the best option. That’s where Chariot says they come in.

Chariot says they will bring riders from the MetroRail station to two stops on the west side: West Sixth Street at Bowie Street and N. Lamar Boulevard at 11th Street. At the end of the day, riders can take the shuttle back to the rail.

The routes will run from approximately 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. daily. Chariot will also stop off at Republic Square so people can access CapMetro buses if they have another route they need to take.

Users will be able to see the routes live in the app and if they need a seat, they can book a seat on the Chariot shuttle nearest them. If there’s not already a route serving your area, your sign-up counts as a “vote” to launch one in your neighborhood. Chariot says you can increase the votes by sharing with friends, colleagues and neighbors doing a similar commute to “crowdsource” your own route.

The average Chariot ride costs $4, riders who take longer trips should expect to pay more. According to their app, in San Francisco, you can get a monthly pass to use Chariot anytime for $119. There are also pricing options for peak times and off-peak times.
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