Austin is no stranger to car culture, but there are a slew of additional options for navigating the streets of the Texas capital. If you’re a visiting tourist and rental cars aren’t for you, there are plenty of other choices for getting around town with safely and efficiently.
The Capitol Metro bus provides service from the airport to the downtown city center, with buses departing every 30 minutes. The route makes stops at the corner of Riverside and Town Creek Drive on the city’s Southeast side, at the cross-section of Fourth and Trinity streets downtown, and on 23rd Street between Robert Dedman Drive and San Jacinto Boulevard, located near the University of Texas campus. Direct access to the downtown area is $12.50 per person.
Hail a Cab
Similar routes offered by Capitol Metro are also available via taxi. The following list provides numbers for the top companies in the area—or, you can simply hail a cab from the airport’s Ground Transportation level.
Lone Star Cab: 512-836-4900
Yellow Cab Austin: 512-452-9999
Austin Express Cab: 512-666-4141
ATX Co-op Taxi: 512-333-5555
Some Austin hotels offer their own shuttle services, as well. Shuttle options can be booked by calling ahead at 1-800-258-3826.
Additional Downtown Options
Rapid bus services are another option for exploring the downtown Austin area. They run between north and south Austin, operating every quarter hour. MetroRapid costs the same as the regular CapMetro bus line: $1.25 for a single ride, $2.50 for a day pass, $11.25 for a seven-day pass, and $41.25 for a 31-day pass. After-hour buses run every 20-30 minutes from midnight until 3:30am, Monday through Saturday. You can catch a late-night bus from East Sixth Street and Congress Avenue nightly, to neighborhoods in North and South Austin.
While public transportation options are often the most efficient way to get around town, renting a car may still be a suitable option when visiting Austin. Many attractions outside the city limits require a car to access, unless you wish to pay hefty fees for a private cab or rideshare.
Car2Go is one of the area’s most popular rental car options. The cars are recognizable by their blue and white color scheme, and there are dozens of locations throughout the city where you can pick one up. Payments are made via the mobile app, and your fee includes the cost of parking. Being approved for the app and online payment system may take several days, however, so please prepare accordingly. The general rate is 50 cents per minute of use.
ZipCar is another app which provides a similar rental service. You may rent a car using a mobile app, for periods as short as an hour or as long as a week. Rates begin at $9.75 per hour or $74 per day, depending on your membership plan. There is no waiting period required to access this service.
Bikes are yet another great and healthy option for citywide exploration. There are a few different renting options available.
Austin B-Cycle provides kiosks across the city, at which you can rent a bike and return it after use. Users must first purchase an access membership with a credit card before riding. Monthly memberships are $11 per month, plus a one-time signup fee of $15. Annual memberships are $80 per person. Members are granted unlimited free rides for up to 60 minutes—however, checkouts longer than an hour run $4 per 30 minutes.
What’s your transport mode of choice when exploring a destination city? Let us know in the comments!