Getting Around During SXSW: Advice for Downtown Commuters

SXSW is coming. But the influx of people doesn’t mean you have to sit in what’s certain to be one traffic jam after another – there are options out there, some of them specifically designed for SXSW! Using SXSW as an opportunity to experiment with commuting options may give you ideas of how to use those options all year long. Read on for our top tips:

Your own two feet

Chances are good that you will pass cars on the street if you choose to gjwj-sxsw-03754et around downtown by foot during SXSW. Walking is good for you, means you won’t have to worry about finding a parking spot, and allows you to see aspects of the city you’d never see from a car. If you’re coming into downtown from another part of Austin, you can either take transit or your own car to a convenient spot, disembark or park, and walk from there.

Bus and Rail

MetroRail is expanding its service and frequency during SXSW to help people get in and out of downtown. Capital Metro’s bus service will also be running, but note that many downtown routes will be detoured during the festival. The Night Owl buses will run every half hour from midnight until 3:00 am except Sundays (Monday mornings). During SXSW, Night Owls will pick up all downtown passengers on 6th St. between Congress and Colorado.

Not sure which option is best for you? Try downloading RideScout’s app. Vying for its own SXSW recognition as SXSW’s Hottest Showcasing Startup, RideScout gives real-time information about transportation options including taxis, public transportation, B-cycle, and car2go, allowing you to search and compare the best modes to get you where you’re going.


Bicycle options abound in Austin. Of course you can always use your own bike – it’s easy to take it on the bus – but if you don’t own one, you can take advantage of B-cycle or Spokefly. Just in time for SXSW, B-cycle has added new stations and will have 40 stations open by the time the festival starts (including one right in front of Stubb’s, so you can catch the rumored Lady Gaga show that may or may not happen there.)sxsw01

Spokefly is a new bike sharing service that’s also easy to use – and the good folks at Spokefly are offering a special SXSW membership package! Unlike B-cycle, you can choose from a variety of bikes and keep your borrowed bike for a longer period of time. Use Spokefly’s mobile website to sign up, get a membership, and get access to bikes.

If you’re a SXSW registrant, the festival is offering its own bike share from March 7 to March 15, free for registrants.

Don’t feel like doing the pedaling yourself? Flag down a pedicab; you’re sure to see many of them on Austin’s downtown streets during the festival.

Ride or Car sharing

Fill your empty seats or ride with a co-worker – that’s “ride sharing.” Carma or RideScout make it easy to coordinate ride sharing. Every ride you share means one less car creati1959241_622027767844703_18350532_nng traffic.

Car2go’s cute little vehicles are the perfect way to zoom around and avoid parking hassles. During SXSW, car2go is setting up special drop zones that will operate from March 7 to March 16. They will be at 8th Street between Trinity and Nueces Streets; 4th Street at the corner of Trinity; and the intersection of Brazos Street and Cesar Chavez Street.

Zipcar is another great car sharing service with stations around Austin. Zipcar offers a few different plans, so you don’t have to make a big commitment if you just want to use it occasionally.



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