Every year the South by Southwest (SxSW) conference held in Austin, Texas, in March celebrates one or more high-tech “breakout” companies. In 2007 it was Twitter, in 2011 it was GroupMe, and in 2015 it was Meerkat.
This was supposed to be Fasten and RideAustin’s year, two of the local ride-sharing companies that had allegedly “filled the void” when city council member Ann Kitchen ran off Uber and Lyft last year.
Thousands of attendees flew in for the conference, and they needed a lift (or Lyft) but couldn’t get one . The technology glitches on the phone apps of Fasten and RideAustin blew up, showed outrageous “surge” prices, and left conferees stranded when drivers failed to show up as requested.
On the last day of the conference, Patrice Lee Onwuka, Generation Opportunity’s communication director, flew in to join in a panel discussion at SxSW. She said of her experience, "I spent a good half hour at the airport trying to get RideAustin to work, to no avail. As an ardent supporter of disruptive companies in the ride-sharing economy, I tried to make it work. Too bad the only disruption I experienced was to my schedule by a failed app that wasn’t ready […]