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Mental Health Charity Lyft Drive Day 9: My Day In Austin

Mental Health Charity Lyft Drive Day 9: My Day In Austin

I woke up a bit late today and barely got out of my hotel room at 11am after showering and writing up a few posts. It was a hot day in Austin as always and I had a craving for Pho so I headed uptown to grab a bowl. I wanted to see how the rideshare service Fasten was in Austin so I decided to take a few trips around the city with Fasten. I had a few free rides left over from Boston so I used them to get around town. I didn’t have any trouble getting a car within a few minutes of me. They only launched a month ago, but many Lyft and Uber drivers switched over to other rideshare services in the city.

It was a quick trip uptown to Pho Dan from a recommendation from a friend. It opened at 11 but it was already pretty crowded there. I got an extra large bowl of their spicy beef pho, which was very good. They had free wifi, so I continued to write a few posts while I was there. I ended up staying there for about two hours while I made some updates to the site.

After lunch, I decided to go down to the Fasten office at their WeWork office. I took another Fasten downtown. The driver seemed to be very distracted and got confused to which exit to take off the highway. He should have taken the middle lane to get off at the exit for the WeWork office, but he wanted to avoid traffic and go on the express lane, which took me another 5 minutes and a few miles longer.

Once I got to the office, I checked in and met with Malley. He is part of the Boston team that is temporarily in Austin until they can hire a full time group here to support Austin. The rest of the team had gone back to Boston for the long weekend. We had a nice chat about how they were doing in Austin and how they quickly became the top rideshare service in Austin. I grabbed a few Fasten signs before I headed out of the WeWork office. I drafted up a few posts while I was still there and then took my last Fasten ride back to the hotel where I parked my car.

While I was in my car, I realized that Lyft still operates outside Austin, so I took a look at the passenger application to see where many of the cars where. They were mainly huddled around Rollingwood and Round Rock. Surprisingly, there were no cars near the Austin Airport. Austin city limits end about 1/2 mile from Austin Airport, and I thought there would be people who request just outside the zone and then get them to meet at Austin Airport. It could be local regulations that make this a risky proposition, especially since Lyft voluntarily stopped operating within Austin limits.

I decided to go up to Round Rock since it was on my way up to Dallas anyway. It was a quick 20 minute drive up to Round Rock. I drove into their small downtown area and was lucky to find a parking garage where I could park in the shade. It was still 99F outside, so I had to keep the car running with the AC on while I waited. After about 10 minutes, I had a feeling it may take awhile to get a ride. There were a few cars around me and another 5-6 cars near the mall complex south of where I was. For a small suburb outside of Austin, I thought that it would take about 30-40 minutes to get a ride so I reclined back to take a quick nap while I waited. I must have dozed off since I was startled by a request from the Lyft app. It was from a restaurant just north of where I was. I checked the time and I saw that about 20 minutes had passed by, so I must have slept for about 15 minutes or so. It is always when you don’t want to happen that it does.

I drove up to the restaurant to pick the young lady up. It took her the full five minutes to get out of the restaurant. Once in the car, she was pretty quiet until I decided to ask her about Lyft in Austin. She lamented that it sucked Lyft pulled out of Austin, but that she uses Fasten when she is in the city. She lives in Rolling Rock and she still uses Lyft everyday. She prefers Lyft because it is what she is used to, even though there are other alternatives out there. Her other friend also uses Lyft, but the rest of her friends have cars so they don’t use rideshare services nearly as often. It was surprising to see that passengers still have a strong brand loyalty.

After the quick ride, I made my way up to Dallas to meet up with a friend and to stay there for the night. It was a quiet drive up to Dallas. I quickly found the downtown area and saw many people walking around, but also a mass of Lyft drivers on every block. Luckily, I got a ping within a few minutes and drove him a few blocks to another bar a few blocks away. I told him about my charity drive and talked about the rideshare scene in Austin.

After the quick trip, I drove about a mile to where my friend lived and spent the night there. I was a little surprised how busy Dallas was for Lyft. It was one of the busiest cities I driven through, other than New Orleans. There were at least 6-10 cars around me at any given time and there was a bit of Prime Time that popped up throughout the night.

How Can You Help?

I have set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise additional money for charity. It will be running for the next few months. Below is the link to the campaign:

GoFundMe Rideshare Dashboard Mental Health Drive

Even a dollar will go a long way so give what you can and it will be deeply appreciated!

You can also help by emailing ridesharedashboard at gmail.com with travel advice, what to see in each of the below cities and your best food recommendations. I have traveled extensively abroad, but I will be visiting many of these states for the first time.

Want to Know Where I am now?

I will continue to post regular updates of my trip on my Facebook Page and my Twitter feed so look there to keep track of where I am! I usually move through 4-6 cities a day so I’m definitely a moving target.

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