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Austin, Texas-area musicians will get free rides to and from their downtown gigs beginning Jan. 1., Lyft announced on Thursday.
Called the Austin Musician Rideshare Program, the new benefit will allow musicians to avoid the dreaded search for a parking spot in downtown Austin and to presumably unload their gear at the venue, rather than down the block at a parking spot.
“It’s expensive and difficult to park downtown, even harder for a working musician lugging gear,” Empire Control Room owner, Stephen Sternschein, said in a press release. “Parking tickets, towing, and accidents can (and do) eat up every dollar a local musician just made on stage. We ought to do everything we can to fix this.”
As of press time, Lyft only listed three Austin-based venues as partners with the program: Stubb’s, Empire Control Room, and Antone’s. On Twitter, the ride-hailing app said it didn’t have a complete list of venues ready yet.
We don't have a full list yet, but if you have a venue that's interested, just click the link at the bottom of the page!— Ask Lyft (@AskLyft) December 29, 2017
The program kicks off in time for Austin’s annual Free Week, in which all venues in the Red River Cultural District host all-ages, free shows from Jan. 1-7.
“Lyft’s Musician Rideshare Program is a tremendous asset for local musicians,” Ryan Garrett, general manager of Stubb’s, said in a press release. “Stubb’s is thrilled to partner with Lyft on this progressive program which will positively impact the lives of local musicians and the entire Austin music scene.”
Lyft also said regular riders can support the Austin Musician Rideshare Program by using the code “ATXMUSIC.” The app said it will discount your ride by $5 and add $5 to the Musician Rideshare Program fund.
Lyft has not yet announced if it hopes to expand the program to other cities.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.