While Uber, Lyft, and other app-based rideshare and delivery companies have spent more than $200 billion to convince voters that employing full-time drivers wasn’t possible in California, a new rideshare option is coming to the L.A. market.
Dallas-based Alto will be available in Los Angeles beginning on December 8. The company calls itself “the safety-first rideshare experience” and touts a team of fully employed drivers. Alto mainly offers SUVs, all of which are operated by vetted and uniformed drivers.
In an interview with Los Angeles Magazine, Alto CEO and founder Will Coleman released the following statement: “We’re excited to showcase the success of our W2 employee-based model in Los Angeles for both riders and drivers with safety and consistency at the core of our rideshare experience. We’ve seen first hand how people can benefit from this type of experience in Texas and look forward to bringing our elevated experience to the Los Angeles area.”
With Alto, rides will be pricier than standard Uber and Lyft rides. According to an Alton spokesperson, the rides land between Uber’s two premium options, Uber X and Uber Black, at around $2 or $3 more than the Uber X option.
Even with the more expensive rides, the brand hopes its focus on safety will help people justify the additional cost—especially during the pandemic. The company’s vehicles are equipped with plexiglass barriers and HEPA air filters. Between rides, vehicles are sprayed with a hospital-grade sanitizing mist that’s reported to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses.
While Uber and Lyft had to rush to implement safety procedures when the COVID-19 pandemic began, Alto was able to launch its business with safety measures in place. The Dallas Morning News referred to the company as being “built for a global pandemic.”
As another stay-at-home order takes effect in L.A. County, Alto’s leadership hopes the company will be able to continue to bring in a profit. Regarding the company’s pricing model, Coleman said, “What once used to be a question of a couple of dollars is now a question of safety. COVID-19 is forcing rideshare customers to rethink things.”
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