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Here's Everything You Need to Know to Get Around SXSW 2017

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUTX
SXSW brings innovative minds in art, technology and culture to Austin, but also extra traffic.

Austin traffic can be crazy even on a normal day. And with SXSW upon us, we all know what that means for our streets. To make the festival more about music and films and panels instead of traffic-induced headaches, we made a list of a few ideas to help you get around Austin more easily and safely this SXSW.


The Public Options

One good option for beating the traffic is Capital Metro’s bus and train systems. Consider downloading the Cap Metro app to view real-time departure schedules and buy ride passes.


MetroRapid: During SXSW, MetroRapid is offering extended hours and services for its $1.25 rides. Buses will run until 2:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and until 12:30 a.m. on Sunday. Monday through Thursday, MetroRapid will operate on its regular schedule, until midnight.


MetroRail: MetroRail service hours will be extended as well. On weekdays, the trains will operate from 9 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. On Saturday, service will run from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 a.m., and on Sunday the first train leaves at 10:30 a.m. with service going until midnight. From March 10 to March 18, Capital Metro will provide overflow buses if the trains become too crowded. One more thing: A MetroRail ride costs $3.50, but MetroRail ticket machines do not accept credit or debit cards, so make sure you’re carrying some cash.


Late-Night: Night Owl buses will operate until after 3 a.m. at double their normal service capacity every day during SXSW, except Sunday.


MetroAirport: For those flying into Austin for SXSW, Capital Metro is offering increased service to and from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and downtown. On Sunday, March 19, the $1.25 MetroAirport rides will run every 15 minutes throughout the day. The rest of the week it will run every 30 minutes.

If buses aren’t for you, or if you’re brave enough to face the challenge of driving and parking in Austin during SXSW, continue reading.



Ride-Sharing Options

Car2Go: If you don’t want to give up driving, but can’t stand the idea of hunting for parking, then Car2Go might be your style. Car2Go guarantees parking around its four SXSW drop-off zones: 90 Brazos Street, 700 San Jacinto, 400 East 4th Street and 1590 East 5th Street. For SXSW attendees, Car2Go is offering all new members free registration and a $10 credit. Within 24 hours, you’re ready to start driving. Prices vary depending on the kind of car you want. The two-person smart car goes for $15 an hour and the larger Mercedes Benz models are $19 an hour. More good news: There’s no surge pricing during busy hours with Car2Go, like there might be with some ride-hailing apps.

Chariot: The commuter-focused ride-sharing platform is offering a "festival loop" option during SXSW starting March 10 at 10 a.m. The app allows users to carpool on predefined routes and chartered rides as well.

A screenshot of Chariot's route for SXSW festival-goers.

Mazda at SXSW: Mazda will offer complimentary rides to SXSW attendees. Register online and pick up a wristband at the Austin Convention Center from March 10-19 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to get free rides throughout SXSW. 

Austin B-cycle: The bike-sharing program will have stations all over the downtown area during SXSW. Check out a map of stations and pricing details on B-Cycle's website or on its mobile apps.

Pedicabs: They're pretty hard to miss, if you're downtown for SXSW, but the city put together a map of spots around town where you're guaranteed to find a ride. 

Ride-hailing apps: Fasten is the official ride-sharing app of SXSW 2017, but Fare, RideAustin and your classic taxicab are also options.  


Where Not to Drive


If You Must Drive, Here's Where You Can Park

Downtown Parking: Using the ParkMe app, you can viewa map showing downtown Austin public parking options. Spaces fill up fast, so arrive early for the best spots. Construction can affect availability and prices change based on where you find a spot. With the determination to battle traffic and wandering pedestrians, you might get lucky.


SpotHero: This app allows you to reserve a parking space in Austin lots and garages in advance. Prices vary based on where and when you’re booking a spot, but usually fall within the $10-$30 range. New users can enter the promo code SXSW17 for $5 off their first park.




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