That brings to between four and six — depending on how one counts it — the number of companies attempting to fill the ride-hailing gap in Austin left by Uber and Lyft’s decision to shut down operations here.
RideAustin is starting small: It’s available at this point only to iPhone users, but a version for Android users is “coming soon,” the company said in a statement Thursday. At first, pickups for rides will be available only in downtown Austin or areas close to downtown (ZIP codes 78701-05) and at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The company, its founders said last month, wants to limit its service initially so that pickup wait times will be as brief as Uber and Lyft users had come to expect.
At this point, RideAustin has 1,000 drivers and about 10,000 people who have uploaded the app.
The company, like Uber and Lyft, will give drivers 80 percent of the cost of rides at first. Because of the nonprofit element, company officials said in May their expectation is that the driver’s percentage take will increase over time.
Company officials say they will comply with the city of Austin’s requirements for ride-hailing, including the mandate that drivers undergo fingerprint-based background checks.
RideAustin is competing with GetMe, Fasten and Fare, all companies that have been in the ride-hailing game a year or less. Two other companies Wingz and zTrip, have obtained “operating authority” permits from the city but at this point do not offer the type of on-demand ride service that Uber and Lyft did.