On Tuesday, July 12, seven Austin American-Statesman reporters tried out seven ride-hailing apps in an attempt to get to and from Hyde Park Bar & Grill for lunch. (Yes, there were fries ordered. Lots of fries.) It was the first test in 512tech's Ride-Hailing Test Run, which included two more ride attempts to get a sense of how well these apps perform in a post-Uber/post-Lyft Austin. The apps tested were, in alphabetical order, Fare, Fasten, GetMe, Hail A Cab, InstaRyde, RideAustin and Wingz.
You can read the full blow-by-blow on how this set of rides and the subsequent ones went from each reporter, how we did the test and why we excluded some services from this run. Or, if you're pressed for time, you can give the chart below a glance and read a quick summary below it.
|Ride-hailing app||Fare||Fasten||GetMe||Hail A Cab||InstaRyde||RideAustin||Wingz|
|Cost from Austin American-Statesman to Hyde Park Bar & Grill (without tip)||$12.77||$10.51||$16.86||$22.50||$7.25 (after $5 promo discount)||$16.86||$15|
|Time to wait for first ride to arrive||3 minutes||4 minutes||9 minutes||7 minutes||5 minutes||7 minutes||24 minutes|
|Travel time from Statesman to Hyde Park||12 minutes||12 minutes||14 minutes||17 minutes||14 minutes||18 minutes||14 minutes|
|Cost from Hyde Park Bar & Grill to Statesman (without tip)||$14.93||$10.74||$14.72||$14.90||$11.98||$15.50||n/a|
|Time to wait for return ride to arrive||2 minutes||10 minutes||7 minutes||10 minutes||14 minutes||7 minutes||n/a|
|Travel time from Hyde Park to Statesman||16 minutes||18 minutes||17 minutes||18 minutes||16 minutes||15 minutes||n/a|
|Tipping||Optional||No tipping in app||Optional||Optional||Optional||No tipping in app||Optional, $2, $5 or $10|
|Average ride cost in our roundtrip test (without tip or promo codes)||$13.85||$10.63||$15.79||$18.70||$12.16||$16.18||$15.00|
|Average wait + travel time in our roundtrip test||16.5 minutes||22 minutes||23.5 minutes||26 minutes||24.5 minutes||23.5 minutes||38 minutes|
|iOS / Android||Both||Both||Both||Both||Both||iOS only||Both|
Summing it up
In our testing, we discovered that while it's great to have a lot more options for ride hailing in Austin, some of the apps we tried don't yet provide the seamless, cheap and — to use Uber's word for it "Frictionless" — experience that Uber and Lyft did before they stopped operating here in May.
It may have to do with too few drivers spread across these services or that some, like InstaRyde, are so new that there aren't enough drivers and passengers using them yet to provide the scale that would make for faster ride-hailing times and lower prices.
That said, it's only been two months and the progress apps such as Fare and Fasten in pricing and ride times is encouraging. And many of the drivers for these apps are ex-Uber/Lyft drivers who are good at what they do.
The loss of Uber and Lyft in Austin has not created the transportation apocalypse that some predicted, but it may require a little more work on the part of passengers to make sure they have multiple app options installed on their phones at any given time if they hope to get around using these services.
For a much-more detailed report on what we experienced in our testing, check out the full version of this story on 512tech.