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12 Ways To Get Around Austin During SXSW

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SXSW season is here in Austin, and with SXSW comes great shows, huge crowds, and lots of cheap branded sunglasses. The key to winning SXSW is drinking lots of water and knowing how to get around the huge crowds and traffic jams. No worries! Austin offers plenty of creative transportation methods.


1) Maybe you're old-fashioned and want the comfort of the familiar yellow cab to take you around the capitol city of Texas. Well, Austin has taxis too. You can contact Yellow Cab Austin, Austin's largest taxi fleet, at 512-452-9999 or through their app. Tip: If you decide to order a taxi, make sure your flip phone is fully charged so you can play snake while you wait.

2) If the weather is nice, why not walk to the next show? If you're just going from Rainey Street to 6th Street, that's very walkable. However, I'd recommend using a pedicab if you are going any further, especially if it gets warm. Tip: Be selective in the free branded gear you accept from the street teams during SXSW. There are only so many koozies you can use.


3) While maybe not on par with the services of bigger cities (it isn't), Capital Metro (Cap Metro) services are pretty underrated. MetroRail connects north Austin to downtown Austin and is a good option for those who live close to the rail. If you have a bike, you can even take your 10-speed onto the train with you. MetroBus is another quality option for those who live by a bus route that goes directly downtown. A relatively new and faster method of transportation offered by Capital Metro for a slightly higher fare is MetroRapid. These buses are equipped with Wi-fi and make limited stops to the most popular destinations in Austin. At peak hours, the MetroRapid buses run every 12-15 minutes. Tip: CapMetro has an app and it's pretty good! The app features all of the route information and allows you to buy your rail and bus fares.


4) During SXSW, locating an available taxi is nearly impossible. Lyft's ride-sharing app is a great alternative, offering users affordable, convenient rides. Lyft even offers a Plus vehicle option, which is great for large groups of friends sharing rides. And instead of wondering when your taxi cab will arrive, you can monitor your Lyft driver's progress through the app. Tip: Partying with a bunch of friends? No problem. Lyft's app allows you to split the bill with friends, so you won't have to nag lazy Billy again.

5) Similar to its app cousin Lyft, Uber's ridesharing app is a good alternative to the inevitable hour-long wait for a taxi cab downtown, providing users an easier way to find a ride home. Uber and Lyft's apps offer many of the same features, such as splitting bills and larger vehicles for large parties of people (uberXL). Uber also offers uberSelect if you want to ride in style. Just tap on any car on your map and see the make and model of your driver's car. Tip: Uber is infamous for their peak hour rates, so be careful when ordering rides at peak hours during SXSW (peak hours during SXSW are any time after breakfast). However, with the release of their newest feature, uberPOOL, you can share a ride and split the cost with someone heading in the same direction. It's a great way to make a new friend!

6) Car2go has a fleet of 300 vehicles in Austin, ready to transport you to your next location. With a Car2go membership card, you can activate any Car2go vehicle not in use, drive to the next show, then park your white and blue vehicle at the nearest parking space on a public street. It's a great transportation option for people who might only need to drive a vehicle a couple times a month (such as cyclists). Tip: Parking downtown is very difficult during SXSW, but Car2go has 3 drop stations downtown where you can drop off your Car2go.

By Bicycle

7) Biking may be the best way to get to know Austin and is a great transportation option for getting around the SXSW madness. Spokefly's innovative bike-sharing app will allow you to select a bike to rent during the festival for however long you need it. The best thing about Spokefly is it allows you the freedom to leave your bike locked wherever you find a bike rack, so no need to search for a kiosk station at the end of your ride! Tip: While fixed gear bikes are pretty hip and cool, if you plan on biking the east and south side of Austin, you'll probably want some gears to climb those hills, so I'd select one of the bike's with speeds.

8) Austin B-cycle has over 40 kiosk stations where you can rent a bike for a day (24 hours) for only $8 a day (as long as your ride is less than 30 minutes). Just select the fancy red bike you desire, ride your bike to the next venue, and then drop it off at the closest kiosk station available. Tip: SXSW badge holders can get a free day pass for using Austin B-cycle. Just show your badge at the SXcycles depot located at 604 Driskill St for your complimentary B-cycle day pass voucher.

9) Spinlister is another bike-sharing app that is great to check out for SXSW. Spinlister allows bike owners to rent out their bikes and users to pick out a nice ride for the day. Spinlister is relatively new to the Austin scene but is hoping to use SXSW to gain a part of the Austin market. Tip: Spinlister also allows people to rent SUPs and snowboards. While there probably won't be too much snowboarding going on in Austin during March, stand up paddleboarding on Town Lake is great way to relax away from the SXSW mania.

10) Pedicabs are a fun, authentic way to get around downtown Austin. Your pedicab driver might be Superwoman, tell you about SXSWs of years past, or sing you a song. You'll find lots of pedicabs downtown, especially in the entertainment district (6th Street, 4th Street). Tip: Tell the pedicab driver where you need to go and ask for an estimate before leaving so you don't have any unwanted surprises. Also, if you don't have cash, make sure the "pedicabber" accepts credit cards before taking off.


11) RideScout boasts that it makes transportation simple and it does this by trying to provide its app users all of the available transportation options, public and private. With RideScout, users decide which option is best for them. (You'll find several of the transportation options listed in this post in the RideScout app, such as Car2Go, Zip Car, CapMetro, etc.) Tip: RideScout is excited for SXSW, and for good reason. The Austin-based RideScout is releasing a new version of their app for SXSW that partners with Cap Metro, allowing users to purchase their bus and rail passes through the RideScout app. - - - - - -

Driving Education

12) Please be safe during SXSW and make good choices just like your mom taught you. But if you do receive a speeding ticket during your time in Austin, you can dismiss your ticket using Aceable's Texas-approved Defensive Driving app. You could even take care of your speeding ticket on your iPhone while waiting in line for John Legend! Tip: Use code TW15 and save 15% when you purchase Aceable's Defensive Driving or Drivers Ed apps.

Krista Doyle