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Ridesharing in Austin: The Best Options in Town

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Key Takeaways

  • Austin offers various ridesharing services including Uber, Lyft, CapMetro, Hitch, SuperShuttle, Wrydz, and SendaRide.
  • Uber and Lyft had temporarily ceased operations in Austin due to legal issues but have since returned.
  • The rideshare market in Austin is competitive, providing multiple options for both riders and those seeking employment in the industry.
  • To work in ridesharing in Austin, drivers typically need to be at least 21, own an insured vehicle, and pass background and drug checks.

Does Austin Have Rideshare Services?

Yes, Austin offers rideshare services. The city has embraced ridesharing as a popular mode of transportation alongside traditional private and public transit options, with services like Uber and Lyft being widely used by locals and visitors.

As Austin’s population surged in the 2010s, the timely arrival of rideshare apps provided much-needed relief to the city’s congested roads, creating flexible job opportunities and offering safe transport alternatives.

The history of ridesharing in Austin has seen ups and downs, including a temporary absence of major providers like Uber and Lyft.

However, these services have since returned and continue to evolve, playing a significant role in Austin’s transportation ecosystem as the city grows.

Are Uber and Lyft Available in Austin?

Within the Austin area, Uber and Lyft currently reign supreme among commuters. Still, it hasn’t always been this way.

In 2016, about 10,000 Uber and Lyft drivers went out of work after both platforms shut down due to a legal tussle with the city authorities.

Following a vote by Austin’s residents, a new law was passed requiring all drivers to undergo fingerprinting as part of their background check. Uber and Lyft failed to conform, arguing that such checks would not improve safety and only limit the supply of drivers.

As a result, about 10,000 Austin drivers from Uber and Lyft went out of work.

Uber’s and Lyft’s exit from Austin lasted for only about a year, though. In 2017, Texas lawmakers passed a landmark legislation that required ride-hailing drivers to pass background criminal checks instead of fingerprinting.

This move inspired the ridesharing giants to restore their business operations in Austin.

Since then, several new companies have stepped in to compete with Uber and Lyft.

Apart from providing carpooling services for Austin’s residents, they also provide employment opportunities for gig workers looking to work in ridesharing.

What Are the Top Ridesharing Services in Austin?

Here are the most popular ridesharing platforms available in Austin:

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Uber rides are available in Austin, and the app helps provide you with everything you need to get started as a rideshare driver. It offers several service types, which mostly differ based on the kind of car used, so the car you own will determine the services you can apply for.

For new drivers with 4-door cars, driving for UberX can help you earn some quick money. If you have an SUV or a van that can fit up to 6 people, you can drive for UberXL.

Experienced drivers using the Uber service can also opt for Uber Comfort to earn more if they have new, spacious cars. Uber Black and Uber Black SUV are Uber’s black car services that present a very lucrative option for seasoned drivers with a luxurious black vehicle.

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Driving for Lyft is similar to being an Uber driver, with a few differences.

 

Both platforms have intuitive driver apps that enable you to receive ride requests and pick up passengers across the city. There’s also an insurance policy in place to protect you from liability in the event of an accident.

Lyft has a better company culture than Uber, and its map makes it easier to concentrate on the road while navigating Austin.

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CapMetro is Austin’s public transport company, which also offers a carpooling service that provides eligible groups of between 4 and 12 riders with a monthly lease agreement, including insurance, maintenance, and 24/7 road assistance.

As a Capital Metro vanpool driver, you’re required to operate a van for larger groups of people on a regular riding schedule, typically commuters carpooling to a common workplace, as a substitute to Austin’s public bus system. This also requires having good knowledge of Austin’s bus lines and bus stop locations.

You may be required to assist disabled riders, including assistance in boarding and getting off the ride, announcing stops, and securing wheelchairs.

 

And there’s paid commercial driver’s license training.

Some of the benefits of being a CapMetro driver are:

  • $23.24 per hour starting pay
  • Up to $5,000 hiring bonus
  • $7,500 relocation assistance for available candidates
  • Paid training, guaranteed hours, plus overtime
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Hitch is a platform that pays you to provide professional driving and carpooling services in Austin, as well as Houston..

For its carpooling service, the service matches you with riders whose destinations are along your route, and you get to see the exact detour time before taking the ride. You can get matched with passengers on the same day, or in advance.

As a professional driver, Hitch pays you $22-$30 to drive from Austin to Houston and back, even if you aren’t matched with any passengers on your return trip.

You can claim rides up to 30 days in advance, which allows you to forecast your exact earnings. Hitch also lets drivers use rental cars, provided that the rental companies allow you to use the vehicle for commercial reasons.

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SuperShuttle is an Autin-based transportation company that provides on-demand rides via its mobile app, including airport shuttles and black car service.

As a SuperShuttle Express driver, you’ll have to shuttle up to four passengers to and from an airport, or around town. Like Hitch, SuperShuttle Express requires passengers to reserve their trips in advance.

SuperShuttle also supports shared rides, where passengers are grouped with others heading in the same direction within the same timeframe.

Aside from its Express non-stop shuttle and shared rides, SuperShuttle provides a black car service called the Execucar.

SuperShuttle drivers are career professionals, licensed, background checked, and commercially insured.

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Wridz is a ridesharing platform that services the Austin area and lets drivers keep 100% of their earnings without any deductibles.

Unlike other services such as Uber and Lyft, you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to be a Wridz driver.

Apart from letting you keep 100% of your earnings, Wridz’s standout feature is its trademark CallingCard system that helps you locate and identify a passenger. Both you and your passenger are assigned a number and color combination unique to the pickup area for your trip, which helps you correctly identify the rider.

To get started at Wridz, you’ll have to pay a background check fee of $30 and a $25 onboarding kit comprised of a driver dash placard and a drug test kit. You’ll also have to schedule and attend an in-person interview, along with your vehicle.

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SendaRide is a new company operating in major cities in Texas, including Austin.

Among other concierge-type services, this platform provides riders (also known as Care Partners) with a non-emergency transport service. 85% of rides are booked in advance, most occurring on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

To become a driver for SendaRide, you first have to apply on the official website by uploading valid credentials.

The conditions for working as a SendaRide are stricter than those of other ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. For instance, the company mandatorily records and stores a database of all conversations made in the vehicle during a ride.

Unlike other major ridesharing companies, SendaRide promises to pay more to drivers who meet these expectations. Its insurance covers only the passenger.

How Can You Work in Ridesharing in Austin?

While the exact details vary from company to company, the requirements for working in the ridesharing industry in Austin are much the same as those anywhere in the country. They include:

  • Being at least 21 years of age
  • Owning a vehicle with active insurance
  • Criminal background checks
  • Drug and alcohol screening

Wrapping Up

Uber and Lyft briefly disappeared from the ridesharing scene in Austin, allowing several new companies to enter the market and provide competition.

As a result, riders aren’t short of options for on-demand or scheduled ridesharing options, as well as black car services. This guarantees open work opportunities for anyone who wants to work in the ridesharing industry.

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