SXSW-goers find Austin’s lack of Uber, Lyft disturbing

 

South By Southwest is in full swing, which means crowds. Crowds everywhere, full of people with panels and parties to attend.

Many of those people forgot (or didn’t know) that Uber and Lyft no longer operate within the Austin city limits. And when it rains all weekend, as it did last weekend, people got upset at the gouged prices and long wait times for Austin alternatives Fasten and RideAustin.

Fasten is the latest mobile ride-hailing app to jump into the Austin market. Credit: Fasten

More: What we learned about Austin’s ride-hailing options by testing six of Austin’s ride-hailing apps

Making matters worse, both Fasten and RideAustin went down on Saturday night’s rainstorms, creating issues for people who needed rides, and needed them ASAP.

Local ride-hailing service RideAustin posted on Facebook early Sunday morning that its database locked up throughout most of the evening Saturday, and 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.

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

During the outage, many people complained on Twitter about the resulting price surges…

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

While some people who just got into town were aghast that Austin does not have Uber or Lyft anymore…

https://twitter.com/Jason/status/841031230997032961

https://twitter.com/tjparker/status/840551537235644417

One person was angry at Uber and Lyft for leaving Austin after the May election that included Proposition 1…

While another was worried about how RideAustin’s app could legally exist because it looks so close to Uber’s…

While many people thought the whole idea of complaining about transportation during a huge conference event was preposterous…

https://twitter.com/sssssparkers/status/841083082170068994

https://twitter.com/samfbiddle/status/841047517567569920

And others simply found (gasp!) other means of transportation for the weekend.

 

Anyhow, the whole event got its own Twitter moment Sunday night:

However, many people who arrived in town Thursday night for SXSW Interactive were well aware of the ridesharing situation in Austin. The following is from breaking news reporter Katie Hall, who went out to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Thursday night to interview conference-goers.

Britt Deyan, of San Francisco, landed in Austin on Thursday night for SXSW Interactive. Deyan said that SXSW had been good about sharing the fact that Uber and Lyft no longer gave rides in Austin.

“Every communication I was sent about SXSW told me Uber wasn’t here,” Deyan said as she climbed into a taxi.

Alisa Hetrick and Sami Huerta, both of Minneapolis, also grabbed a taxi after landing at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Hetrick and Huerta said they had been told by friends in Austin, who invited them to SXSW, that Uber and Lyft didn’t operate in Austin.

A group of six Mashable employees huddled together outside the airport after landing in Austin, discussing the ride-hailing app RideAustin. Their company had called a car ahead of time to pick them up, they said. A few of the people in the group said they were well aware of the fact that Uber and Lyft left Austin because their website had written about it. One of them, however, was not.

“I didn’t know until just now,” she said, after asking the reporter for ride-hailing app suggestions. “After the tragedy that happened a couple years ago at SXSW, I think they’re asking for another tragedy.” She declined to give her name.

What about you? Have you been having a tough time getting around at SXSW? Let us know in the comments.

Statesman reporters Katie Hall and Elizabeth Findell contributed to this report.

It’s not a dream: SXSW to include ‘Twin Peaks’ diner with plenty of ‘damn fine coffee’

It’s all the coffee and pie you want in the eeriest setting — but it’s real.

capture
via Showtime

This year’s South by Southwest will feature a pop-up version of the iconic Double R Diner from “Twin Peaks.” The diner, which is sponsored by Showtime, will be located at Clive Bar on Rainey Street, March 16-17, and will offer up free coffee, doughnuts and pie. The goods will all be provided by local vendors: High Brew Coffee, Tiny Pies and Voodoo Doughnuts.

The event will also feature performances by Neko Case and M. Ward.

Here’s to hoping the coffee is just as Dale Cooper always says:

Stay in the loop, but still out of the box when it comes to SXSW parties this year by following our unofficial party guide here.

We ask people at Eeyore’s Birthday – why do you love Austin?

After a night of thunder and lightning, the sun came out just in time on Saturday for Eeyore’s Birthday. The annual festival in Pease Park featured live music, face painting and costumes. Locals, families and weekend visitors had plenty to say about why they love Austin.

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College student Megan Hicks attends Texas State University in San Marcos but said she spends most of her time in Austin. Hicks and a group of friends were attending the festival for the first time.

 

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A maypole is set up at the beginning of the festival.

 

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Carly Suhr was enjoying the warm weather with Hicks. Suhr, 19, said she loves Austin because there is always something fun to do.

 

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Abby Slatton, who is studying to be an aesthetician, likes the attitude of Austinites. Slatton and her friends were excited to watch the drum circles (below) that Eeyore’s Birthday is known for.

 

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Garrett Rogers was taking in the sights and sounds of the festival for the first time. Rogers, who works in heating and air conditioning, enjoys the people he meets in Austin.

 

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David Rodriguez attended Eeyore’s Birthday for the third time this year. Rodriguez said he cannot get enough of the food in Austin and that his favorite restaurant is Kebabalicious.

 

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The 53rd annual Eeyore’s Birthday was  just one of the many things to do around Austin this weekend and part of what makes Christopher Marshall love the city so much.

 

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Barbie Jabri (second from right) has been in Austin for eight years and is trying to convince her friends to move here. Jabri enjoys soaking up the warm, sunny weather the city is known for.

 

Where would you like to see us go next?