RSG055: What RideAustin Has Learned After a Million Rideshare Trips

When Uber and Lyft pulled out of Austin, Texas in 2016, a whole host of rideshare start-ups jumped on the opportunity to serve passengers and drivers.  Now that the dust has settled, RideAustin has emerged as one of the top options for drivers and riders but they bring a unique twist to ridesharing.  They’re actually a non-profit and although they face many of the same operational and logistic challenges as other rideshare companies, their mission is a bit different.

In today’s episode, I’ll be chatting with RideAustin’s CEO Andy Tryba about what it means to be a non-profit rideshare start-up, what it’s like to operate in the absence of Uber and what does it really take to keep things running smoothly on the back end of a rideshare company.

If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

Have you heard about RideAustin? I interview Andy Tryba, CEO of RideAustin, on the behind the scenes of operating a rideshare company.


  • Today we’re talking about what RideAustin has learned after a million rideshare trips
  • Speaking with Andy Tryba, the CEO of RideAustin
  • Keep listening – even though RideAustin is only in Austin, this podcast is going to cover what the operation side looks like for a rideshare company
  • Most of us drivers only see the customer service side, so this podcast gives you the opportunity to see ridesharing through another angle
  • Looking for an app to help automate how you drive for Uber and Lyft? Check out Mystro, a new app that puts you in control of the passengers you accept and when. You can register for their beta program here with the code RSGB3171
  • Thanks to all of you listening who’ve let us 5 star reviews on iTunes! Special thanks to: Pamcakes2449, Nathanial Boyd, reed reed reed, ASDFGH, Ubermepgh, Wolfwill23, SD driver 2, Lafercen

An Interview With Andy Tryba

  • Andy is the co-founder and CEO of the non-profit rideshare start up RideAustin
  • RideAustin is the number one rideshare service in Austin and has completed over 1.4 million rides since its launch in May 2016
  • Uber and Lyft left Austin roughly 8 months ago following the implementation of strict regulations, including fingerprinting
  • This is where RideAustin came in to fill the void (among other rideshare companies)

Behind the Scenes of RideAustin

  • RideAustin has an open data philosophy, publishes info about ride volumes, cost to deliver trips and more to the community on a weekly basis via RideAustin site
  • From the beginning, brought drivers in for their expertise on dispatch, hiring
  • For example, originally started with Apple maps and drivers said they hated it, so RideAustin went back to Google maps
  • Competition is still there even though Uber and Lyft aren’t in the market anymore

 Biggest Challenges

  • Balancing relationship between company, rider, and driver
  • Uber is trying to increase profits, but as a nonprofit, RideAustin doesn’t need to focus on that and can pay drivers more, lower fares for passengers, and make sound company decisions
  • Different companies have different mentalities – Uber didn’t begin from a driver’s perspective

Business of Rideshare

  • The rideshare business is extremely expensive – lost $2.8 billion dollar last year
  • Biggest costs include tech and insurance
  • Market is still new and there’s still a ton of potential opportunity for rideshare companies to flourish
  • Roughly only 30% of people have ever taken a rideshare ride, so the opportunity to connect with more passengers is there


  • RideAustin is a really interesting combo of nonprofit and company – it’s a local co-op feel but still a business at the same time
  • Things probably aren’t perfect on any side, but RideAustin seems to embrace transparency, which is laudable
  • Feel free to reach out to me at harry[at] or follow me on Twitter @TheRideShareGuy
  • Have a question for Andy we didn’t cover? Leave your comments or questions below!

Show Notes

Have you visited Austin and used RideAustin? Any RideAustin drivers out there – what is your experience with RideAustin so far? Do you think RideAustin would be a sustainable model throughout the US?

-Harry @ RSG

If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.