Dallas ride-sharing firm Alto takes LA plunge

The ride-sharing start-up says it uses HEPA cabin air filters in its SUVs, which it provides to all of its drivers rather than having them using their own vehicles.

Alto is a Texan ridesharing start-up

Alto provides all of its drivers with an SUV instead of them using their own vehicles. Credit: Alto

Texan ride-hailing firm Alto is moving into the Los Angeles market, as it seeks to provide customers with an alternative to giants Uber and Lyft in the city.

Alto positions itself as being a ride-sharing service built around safety first and foremost. All of its drivers are, according to Alto, background checked. In addition to this, the firm says that all rides are video monitored in real time in order to keep passengers safe.

Cleanliness is also high on Alto’s agenda, with the company employing strict disinfecting regimes for their SUVs, and even installing HEPA cabin air filters.

Alongside these safety and hygiene features, all Alto drivers are listed as employees, unlike Uber and Lyft who list their employees as contractors. This could perhaps play well in California, which saw one of the most expensive campaigns in its history run by Uber and Lyft to overturn legislation that would force the two companies to provide their drivers with benefits and adhere to minimum wage laws. Though Californians eventually passed Proposition 22 to allow Uber and Lyft to treat drivers as contractors, eyebrows were raised at the methods used during the campaign, which included push notifications within the Uber app.

“At such a critical time, we’re thrilled to bring Alto’s elevated ride-share and delivery experience to the Los Angeles market,” said Will Coleman, Alto co-founder and CEO.

“Knowing how many people have benefited from our consistent, high-quality and safe offerings in our initial market in Texas, we know we have a lot to offer to the LA community.”

Of course, implementing all of the aforementioned features is not cheap. Texas Monthly reports that Alto rides are around the double the price of an UberX ride. For this Alto says riders can benefit from the ability to choose their own music, and even branded water bottles and umbrellas.

It’s clear what the strategy from Alto is. The Texan start-up is presenting itself as the more luxurious and safer option, and is hoping that the people of Dallas, Houston, and now Los Angeles, will part with more cash for what it perceives as greater peace of mind. Whether it can disrupt two brands that are already firmly entrenched in the minds of consumers as the go-to option in the market remains to be seen.

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