New ride hailing services using peer to peer launches in Austin

A new ridesharing service has popped up in Austin since Uber and LYFT bailed out of Austin. This one seems to avoid city regulations by going peer to peer and has already drawn thousands of users.

It's called "Arcade City", and it's a Facebook group right now, with an app in the works that will hopefully be released in the next month.

The group launched, and within less than a week it had more than 10,000 people signed up ready to drive and ride. “I really think that people in the city are genuinely upset with all that happened. Not just one side or the other. They're not throwing money into a big company, they are helping their fellow Austinites out either way,” said Solomon Hapshie who signed up for Arcade City to drive people around.

The CEO and founder Christopher David said it’s a “Movement to build a decentralized ridesharing platform.”

Hapshie drove for LYFT and has been trying to supplement his income since Uber and Lyft left Austin. That’s why along with many others joined the Facebook group. “We are there in minutes, because we are used to the grind, we are used to what we need to do, because we've done it before,” he said.

How it works is riders post if they need a ride and their location, and drivers comment back. The rider gets to choose their driver. Drivers have been posting their Uber and LYFT profiles, so passengers can know a little more about them and their driver rating.

Tips and donations are how the driver is paid. “We are here not to try to make a billion dollars, not try to be the next big thing, we are here for our community, we are here to actually help each other,” Hapshie said,           

David said while the page is not sophisticated, it's helping fill the void left by Uber and LYFT. “We are really more like a Craigslist or We are just providing a way for riders and drivers to find each other.” He also said it's helping some of the 10,000 drivers who are now without jobs. “Drivers are really seeing this as an opportunity to brand themselves as entrepreneurs and connect directly with their customer base. That's what Arcade City is all about. We want drivers to set their own rates but be empowered to build up their own recurring customer base and something that's not going to be taken away from them,” David said.

Some of the ways you can pay drivers are with cash, Venmo, Bitcoin, Google or Apple Pay. It just depends on what the driver accepts. “That's pretty much all it's about is really helping that person get to work, that person to get home safely from the bar. I don't know how you can look at that as being a bad thing,” Hapshie said.
So what’s in it for the founder and CEO? David said with the app if people choose to use a credit card for payment, they will take 10%. But that is only optional and you can continue making transactions directly with the driver.