Ever since Uber and Lyft abandoned us in a hail of think pieces (or was run out of town, depending on your point of view), many out-of-towners have the gotten the impression there aren’t ride-hailing and other publicly available transportation options here—an especially important consideration for events such as ACL Fest. (Although it did manage to do quite well for 10 or so years without the benefit of “disruptive” companies.)
Not only are there quite a few ride-hailing services in town, but you also have plenty of other options for getting to the fest as well. Below is a a list of many of them. Since specifics about rates and arrangements—especially with ride-hailing companies and parking garages—change often, we’re including just the basics for each, with links for contact information and more specifics.
Walking, buses/MetroRail, free shuttle, or some combination
Capital Metro is stepping up the its bus and train service this weekend. It’s an excellent way to get pretty close to Zilker on regular routes or to the free shuttle that takes festival goers to and from Republic Square Park downtown. If you really just must drive your own car part of the way, here’s a map of paid parking spots downtown, along with shuttle pickup and regular bus stops.
Ride your own bike to the fest, rent one from a local business, or take advantage of Austin B-Cycle, the city’s bike rental service with stations all over town—including one near the main (Barton Springs) festival entrance. Bike valets will relieve you of your B-Cycle rides at gate entrances, and there are racks for locking personal bikes (don’t forget your lock!) at all entrances.
Taxi cabs and pedicabs
Old-school taxi services will have a cab stand outside the main/Barton Springs gate of the festival. Commonly used services include Yellow Cab, Lone Star Cab, and Austin Cab. There are also electric cabs in operation, including Electric Cab of Austin and Ryde.
Pedicabs, those rickshaw-type vehicles powered by people on bikes, are great for small groups and can be found near the corner of Barton Springs Road and Robert E. Lee Road by the fest, as well as downtown and sometimes east of the IH-35 in the hopping nightlife areas. Best to negotiate your fare beforehand, as they aren’t standardized.
The blue-and-white tiny cars (some call them “smart”) have been operating in Austin for a while now; members—you do need to join online—use them as sort of self-driven cabs for short trips on a temporary basis. For the Fest, there will be a drop zone at Weber Field (1704 Toomey Road), a short walk from to the festival, where Car2Go reps will handle the parking.
Chariot and promotional deals (aka free stuff)
An app-based shuttle service, called Chariot, that will ultimately serve commuter routes launched in Austin last week, and it is operating for ACL Fest weekend. Caveat: service is limited and requires making reservations for a complimentary ride as early as possible each day.
Local nonprofit startup Ride Austin is also offering a shot at free rides in some kind of promotional deal with Honda, available through its app.