When The Next Web writers were in Austin for South By Southwest, we were pretty impressed with RideAustin. And now the municipal ridesharing app we called “the future of ride sharing” might be in trouble.
Ridesharing apps Uber and Lyft are returning to Austin next week after a spat over background checks sent them packing last year. With them back, there might not be room for a homegrown app like RideAustin in the city anymore.
Ride Austin said in a statement that it would continue operations, and it’s optimistic:
With the Silicon Valley giants returning, the rideshare landscape will certainly change – we expect them to use their billions of dollars and aggressive tactics to buy back as much of the Austin market as we can. But Austinites love to support local businesses and the broader community, and we expect that many of our riders will continue to ride local with RideAustin.
The app does have the benefit of local interest. RideAustin was recently given a grant by the Transit Empowerment Fun to provide low-income residents with on-demand trips to medical clinics.
It’d be a shame to see an interesting experiment like RideAustin get crushed by the venture-funded behemoths hogging the road, so we hope they can hack it.