Uber, SideCar, Getaround and Lyft: These are just a few of the services you may have heard by now, all of them attempting to disrupt the transportation industry with car summoning through mobile apps or peer-to-peer ride-sharing options.
Many of them, of course, have also faced cease-and-desist orders or other obstacles from local governments that have expressed concern about liability — and legality.
So Lyft, probably best known for its giant, hot-pink mustache emblem that drivers slap on their cars, has come up with a SXSW stunt that gets them a little bit of attention without getting into legal hot water in Austin: free Lyft piggyback rides.
The start-up has dispatched around 20 piggyback-ride-givers — some of them semi-professional rugby players — to give conference-goers a literal lift around Austin.
If you’re not lucky enough to run into one of these pink-mustache-wearing men on the street, as I did today, you can request a Lyft piggyback ride as a temporary option within the Lyft mobile app. (The full version of the Lyft mobile app, which connects you with real-people drivers willing to use their own cars to give rides, is currently only operating in San Francisco and Los Angeles.)
John Zimmer, co-founder and COO of Zimride, the company behind Lyft, says the piggyback rides were mostly just about having a little bit of fun in Austin.
Lyft isn’t the only one getting creative in Austin, where taxis, pedicabs, and limousines are tightly regulated. SideCar is making all rides free during the fest, and Uber, which primarily hooks users up with town car service, is offering pedicab rides around the city.
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