Fast forward to May 29, when both Uber and Lyft returned their services to Austin. Their respective marketing machines are making it clear they’re back. I’ve seen signs around the city, received emails like this one below from Lyft offering credits to use the service over the next few days. And I’ve seen lots of Uber ads in Facebook throughout this time as well.
So, what effect has their return had on local ride-sharing companies that have been filling the void for the last year? They’ve all taken big hits. Fare has already made it official announcing they are leaving Austin earlier this week.
What got me thinking about all this was the Here and Now interview of RideAustin COO Marisa Goldenberg. the non-profit company grew from about 300 rides a day to over 20,000 during the SXSW peak. According to Marisa, RideAustin saw a 55% drop in business in the first full week of Uber and Lyft’s return. She also blamed seasonality—the first few weeks of June tend to be lower ride volumes overall. RideAustin hopes to make it through the summer months to get back to a threshold of 20,000 rides per week. That’s the target the company needs to hit to sustain their nonprofit business.
Click on the image below to get to the story where you can hear the interview with Marisa.
Personally, I’m pulling for RideAustin. What are your thoughts? Have you returned to using or driving for Uber and Lyft now that they’re back, or will you rely on other options?