Two Austin ride-hailing services report problems in first days of SXSW

Posted March 12th, 2017

Uh-oh. Just two days into South by Southwest, are Austin ride-hailing services faltering?

Local ride-hailing service RideAustin posted on Facebook early Sunday morning that its database locked up throughout most of the evening Saturday. The company says another Austin ride-hailing app failed during that time, sending drivers and riders to RideAustin.

Kirill Evdakov, CEO of Fasten, confirmed that service also had problems, beginning a little after 8 p.m. Saturday. He called SXSW, rainy weather, and glitches with other services simultaneously “a perfect storm” that led to Fasten receiving about 12 times as many ride requests as normal.

WHAT WE LEARNED: Statesman reporters tested six Austin ride-hailing apps

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft left town last May, and this is the first SXSW for local apps that have replaced them. Numerous SXSW attendees posted on social media Saturday and Sunday about problems finding rides.

https://twitter.com/HeyHeyESJ/status/840948977986093056

https://twitter.com/michaelmiraflor/status/840788913069387776

https://twitter.com/JHKrak/status/840964977058037760

RideAustin posted that it received a large influx of new drivers and ride requests at 7 p.m. Saturday, which caused its databases to lock up. The problems persisted until about midnight, the company wrote. Now, it believes the issues are solved.

“SXSW has just started, so we pledge to finish the rest of SXSW strong,” RideAustin wrote. “We’ve already seen almost 45k rides since folks started coming into Austin (including nearly 15k on Sat despite our issues) - so we’ll regroup and offer a great service to both Austinites and folks traveling in.”

Fasten, likewise, believes its service is restored.

“It was quite bad for one hour and then we did a lot of improvements,” Evdakov said. “We should have been more prepared and now we are more prepared.”

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