In Light of Uber/Lyft Exit from Austin, Wingz Moves in

Austin once was the city that was synonymous with Texas start up, but the city has been chipping away at that designation, creating more opportunity for Dallas to step in as the preeminent Texas city.  This week Uber and Lyft entirely shut down their service within Austin after the city passed Proposition 1 that requires fingerprint-based background checks for drivers.  Surprisingly though, while Uber and Lyft withdraw from Austin, San Francisco-based Wingz has announced new service to the airports at Austin, and Dallas.

Wingz is a ride-hailing company that offers flat-rate car service in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, the Bay Area, and other West Coast hubs. Unlike Uber or Lyft- which is a real-time ride booking experience, with Wingz, the user knows before they even board their plane that a vehicle will be waiting for them.  This is much like hiring any private car service, and unlike Uber or Lyft, which are ride shares, Wingz operates as a private car for hire.

The private car for hire model is an expensive one, and Wingz is not always the cheapest option, but in Austin, it is now the only option other than a taxi or other hired car service.  Slightly more expensive than Uber, by about $15 (when Uber is not at surge pricing), Wingz is an affordable alternative to taxis and other car service providers.  In a shift from Uber and Lyft, it is also possible for the user to request the same driver that they may have had a great experience with previously.

There is definitely a market for a service such as Wingz, at DFW Airport- Uber and Lyft provided almost 40,000 more rides than were provided by taxis- meaning a huge market is now open with almost no competition in Austin.  Austin has certainly harmed its’ image with their aggressive action against Uber and Lyft, but it is unsurprising that other companies, such as Wingz, are willing to play within the rules set by Austin’s government in order to gain access to the market.

Also attempting to cash in on the Prop 1 hubbub is GetMe, a startup that launched in Dallas in August 2015.  Now featured in four cities, including Austin, its new American HQ, Houston, and Las Vegas, GetMe offers customers convenient rides to wherever they need through their [somewhere] service.  Setting GetMe apart though, is their [something] side of service.  This service allows the driver from GetMe to pick up whatever it is the user wants, milk from the grocery store, a t-shirt from their favorite retailer, or a cup of coffee and then deliver it to the user.

Harmony Tapper