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 didnâ€™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.More: What we learned about Austinâ€™s ride-hailing options by testing six of Austinâ€™s ride-hailing apps
We need @uber back in Austin desperately #swsw
â€” Dustin Haisler (@dustinhaisler) March 7, 2017
Hi @MayorAdler just got home to Austin. @fasten froze. There is a 200 pers line for cabs. When are you going to fix this? It's embarrassing
â€” Ryan Holiday (@RyanHoliday) March 10, 2017
Making matters worse, both Fasten and RideAustin went down on Saturday nightâ€™s rainstorms, creating issues for people who needed rides, and needed them ASAP.
Looks like the @fasten & @Ride_Austin apps are both down due to a large number of requests during #SXSW. Why load testing is so important.
â€” Jace Deloney (@JaceDeloney) March 12, 2017
@JaceDeloney @Ride_Austin was down for me last night too. Anyone else have it lock up their phone? I had to hard reset and lost some data.
â€” Daniel Liu (@meetdliu) March 12, 2017
Come back to Austin @lyft. #rideaustin and #fasten are both down. #sxsw #ridesharingapocalypse
â€” Josh Margolis (@ATXJoshMargolis) March 12, 2017
When @ride_austin and @fasten went down last night. I'm the green circle. #SXSW pic.twitter.com/6ZkBZPkU9e
â€” Josh Krakauer (@JHKrak) March 12, 2017
Local ride-hailing service RideAustin posted on Facebook early Sunday morning that its database locked up throughout most of the evening Saturday, andÂ Kirill Evdakov, CEO of Fasten, confirmed that service also had problems, beginning a little after 8 p.m. Saturday.Â He called SXSW, rainy weather, and glitches with other services simultaneously â€śa perfect stormâ€ť that led to Fasten receiving about 12 times as many ride requests as normal.More:Â Two Austin ride-hailing services report problems in first days of SXSW
During the outage, many people complained on Twitter about the resulting price surgesâ€¦
Use @fasten at your own risk at #SXSW. My fare estimate was $10-12 for 2 miles but once booked it jumped to $43-$51. No warning about surge. pic.twitter.com/lPMSz98kdL
â€” Amanda Coolong (@acoolong) March 12, 2017
The price gouging is flagrantly unethical. @fasten https://t.co/mhnXFRCWLz
â€” Audrey Wu (@mraudreywu) March 12, 2017
Fasten completely broke last night, was trying for half an hour and never worked. Then I hailed something called a "taxi." https://t.co/6Dxxcyam9o
â€” Eric Johnson @ SXSW (@HeyHeyESJ) March 12, 2017
While some people who just got into town were aghast that Austin does not have Uber or Lyft anymoreâ€¦
A city without @Uber ! #Austin âšˇď¸Ź â€śTensions rise over lack of ride-hail services to South by South-Westâ€ťhttps://t.co/SCnMgsc3DD
â€” Juliette Rizkallah (@juliettesultan) March 13, 2017
What a disaster for #sxsw â€¦ like going back to stone ages. Rent a car! Find parking! More traffic! Ugh. #austin https://t.co/0FLZABD0SA
â€” jason (@Jason) March 12, 2017
Completely forgot there is no more Uber / Lyft in Austin. Likely would've stayed home if that crossed my mind.
â€” TJ Parker (@tjparker) March 11, 2017
Hey #Austin what happened to #uber_austin? I just came to town for #SXSW and got stuck. No #lyft either? #goinghome
â€” Garry Hill (@garry_hill) March 12, 2017
@Uber_ATX what?!Just landed here. Where are you when I need you most. Came from the ATL and used you all week. Get it together!SMH
â€” J. J. Meza (@JJMeza10) March 11, 2017
One person was angry at Uber and Lyft for leaving Austin after the May election that included Proposition 1â€¦
Hey @lyft & @Uber_ATX quit your bitching and start serving Austin again. I wanna go out and not have to drink and drive. That shit isnt safe
â€” Jaime Carmona (@jnc8651) March 12, 2017
While another was worried about how RideAustinâ€™s app could legally exist because it looks so close to Uberâ€™sâ€¦
I hadn't seen the #RideAustin app â€“ how is this not a violation of @Uber's IP? Looks way too similar design. Hmmm. @Uber_ATX https://t.co/dIohAbpK87
â€” Sarah Rumpf (@rumpfshaker) March 12, 2017
While many people thought the whole idea of complaining about transportationÂ during a huge conference event was preposterousâ€¦
i think we can all agree it's hilarious that a bunch of tech and marketing bros are having a bad time at #SXSW b/c there's no @Uber or @lyft
â€” steev (@sssssparkers) March 13, 2017
Austin TX was settled in 1835, nearly two centuries before Uber and Lyft made human habitation possible. How? Doesn't add up
â€” Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) March 12, 2017
@rrhoover @huntermmonk in all fairness even when we had Uber & Lyft it was still tough to find rides during SXSW demand spikes
â€” Kate_Houlihan (@k8_ers) March 12, 2017Comment from discussion Slypenslydeâ€™s comment from discussion "Fasten and RideAustin fail Saturday night with SXSW crowd".
And others simply found (gasp!) other means of transportation for the weekend.
ÂComment from discussion DKmannâ€™s comment from discussion "Fasten and RideAustin fail Saturday night with SXSW crowd".
What do you do when there's no Lyft or Uber and you're a journalist on deadline? Take a pedicab, of course. #SXSW pic.twitter.com/Y96lIMp6tp
â€” Melissa Repko (@melissa_repko) March 12, 2017Comment from discussion audiomuse1â€™s comment from discussion "Fasten and RideAustin fail Saturday night with SXSW crowd".
Anyhow, the whole event got its own Twitter moment Sunday night:Tensions rise over lack of ride-hail services to South by South-West
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.
â€śEvery communication I was sent about SXSW told me Uber wasnâ€™t here,â€ť 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 didnâ€™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.
â€śI didnâ€™t know until just now,â€ť she said, after asking the reporter for ride-hailing app suggestions. â€śAfter the tragedy that happened a couple years ago at SXSW, I think theyâ€™re asking for another tragedy.â€ť 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.]]