Times are tough for a lot of people right now, and the rideshare industry has not been immune. In our latest survey, how drivers are responding to the coronavirus, we found that 80% of drivers said demand for rideshare is down. One bright spot? Delivery! Today, we’re talking to a rideshare startup out of Dallas on how it’s staying ahead of the curve.

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

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    • Today I’m talking with Will Coleman of Alto, a ridesharing service based in Dallas, TX
    • Their tagline was ‘redefine the rideshare experience’ – until recently
    • Going to talk about how coronavirus has changed everything for the industry
    • Shout out to another one of my favorite podcasts: Shift, a podcast about mobility
    • Podcast is all about mobility and its production

    Intro to Will Coleman

    • CEO and Founder of Alto, a new ridesharing service based in Dallas, TX
    • Former partner at McKinsey, supporting airline, hotel and car rental clients
    • Dallas native!
    • Started about a year and a half ago, original premise was to elevate the rideshare experience for both passengers and drivers


    • Not a technology company – a service company
    • Has W-2 Employee drivers
    • Product is the ride, the actual experience in the car
    • Overall, have more control over the experience and elevate it for passengers and drivers

    Alto + Adaptability

    • End of February began to see the first number of cases and concern from passengers and drivers
    • Began letting passengers know about Alto’s traditional cleaning policies – cars cleaned multiple times a day
    • At the same time, started installing HEPA filters in their vehicles
    • Provided drivers with gloves, sanitizer, wipes, etc.
    • Usage still took a big drop, so pivoted into getting things to customers like delivering food or goods

    What the Industry Looks Like Right Now

    • Right now, things are at a certain level, but things are changing dramatically even day by day
    • It’s a business crisis – need to differentiate with rides, delivery
    • Alto offers paid sick time and family leave for drivers – need customers to know Alto is different, takes driver and passenger health seriously
    • Pivot to delivery – taking cleanliness, hygiene and safety just as seriously for delivery as they do rideshare

    The True Cost of Rideshare

    • Alto will take a hit on revenue because when ridership declines, so does revenue
    • Uber not exactly dealing with the same thing – able to outsource costs by calling drivers ‘independent contractors’
    • Companies should have to pay the true cost of doing business – consumers do too
    • Alto will be a part of tomorrow and hopes to continue the conversation/debate about the true cost of rideshare


    • Big thanks to Will for coming on the podcast – perfect opportunity to highlight their model and how they’ve adapted in the face of the coronavirus
    • Like to highlight the positive stories, people making the best out of bad situations
    • A lot of business lessons you can learn from this episode – make sure to listen to the full episode!

    Show Notes

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.