South by Southwest is a major music conference and event that started on March 9th and will continue through to March 18th. It brings tens of thousands of musicians and fans to a major conference site in Austin Texas.
While the exact number of rides is unknown, Lyft GM for Austin Aaron Fox has already given all Lyft drivers preparatory messages before the conference.
Fox told the media that "We start letting drivers know about this a few weeks in advance, [and] there's a website for them that shows when and where to drive to maximize earnings. We have a lot of data from past years on exactly when and where it's going to be busy, and we try to use that to tell drivers where to go."
Surge pricing starts from 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. and then for the music portion, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Lyft has taken the initiative to aid their drivers during this period and set up a Lyft branded pit-stop where drivers can get snacks, drinks and recharge EV's during the lull periods between each peak. As of today, hundreds of Lyft drivers have and are using the pit stop.
Lyft went one step further and set up a Lyft House space in part of Austin's Native Hostel, where they host local talent for entertainment as well as provide yoga classes, snacks, and refreshments. Lyft and HBO joined forces to provide rides to the Westworld activation part.
Lyft has an advantage in Austin, it became the official ride-hailing partner with South by Southwest and focused on the music portion As Fox said "music is all year long, and it's an important part of Austin. South by Southwest started as a music festival, and I think it's the most authentic way that we can work with the community."
Austin has not always been so friendly to Lyft (or Uber), in fact, both companies left Austin back in 2016 after the cities residents voted to perform stricter background checks on all drivers and demanded fingerprinting. It was a year later in 2017 that both companies returned since the State legislature regulated ride-hailing and enabled both companies to return to Austin without setting mandatory requirements beyond the screening process in place.