Luxe Rideshare Company Alto Debuts Its First Art Car in Houston
Local Muralist Shelbi Nicole Created The Playful New DesignBY Shelby Hodge // 01.20.21
Houston artist Shelbi Nicole designs Alto's first Art Car contribution to its fleet of ride hailing and delivery service mid-size SUVs.
Houston artist, designer and muralist Shelbi Nicole contributes her talents to Alto, the luxe ride-sharing and delivery service entity.
Alto's Art Car saluting the American Heart Association is a whimsical addition to the ride hailing and delivery service's fleet of mid-size SUV's in Dallas.
Alli K with the Art Car that she created for Alto in Dallas — the art car's a tradition of transforming the Buick Enclaves. (Courtesy of Alli K Design)
Dallas artist Mariel Pohlman creates a colorful art car for Alto, the Dallas-based ride-hailing/delivery service business.
Houston artist, designer and muralist Shelbi Nicole has decorated many unusual things in her colorful career — water tanks, food trailers, football helmets for Super Bowl suite holders and more. But Houston’s latest ride hailing option, Alto, presented her with a delightful challenge: transforming a vehicle in the company’s fleet into a stunning art car.
The colorful Buick Enclave had been tooling around the streets of Houston for several days when earlier this week, Alto strutted its full mantel of services by delivering Shelbi Nicole inspired goodie bags to media VIPs across the city. The delivery of all manner of goods to the home or offices of clients is the second tier of the ride share operation.
You might have already seen Alto’s whimsical wheels painted in playful and very colorful flowers and greenery in a varied palette that speaks of delightful fun. The firm’s logo can be subtly noted among the patterns.
“When I created this Alto Art Car design, I couldn’t help but think about all the Houstonians who sit in hours of traffic everyday and how creating a vehicle with all sorts of feel-good vibes could help bring joy to their day,” Shelbi Nicole said in a release. “To be able to collaborate with a company I respect that is the safest, cleanest, and highest quality passenger experience in the world, also contributed to my passion for this project.”
The Houston Alto art car commission continues the program that was launched in Dallas — home base of the promising startup. Already a number of art cars by Dallas artists, including Alli K and Mariel Pohlman, are surprising Alto customers. Several of the cars salute nonprofits such as the American Heart Association and Ashford Rise School. Plans are to introduce two to three art cars in each market each year.
“We love collaborating with local artists to bring their designs to life in a new way: on the road,” Will Coleman, Alto CEO and founder, said in a release. “This art car is particularly special because of its connection to Houston. We can’t wait for Houston passengers to see the design.” The cars will be randomly assigned to unsuspecting customers.
Alto, which launched in Dallas in early 2019, entered the Houston market last fall and this month is introducing its transportation and delivery services to Los Angeles, where, as in Texas, it hopes to garner a chunk of the Uber and Lyft market.
Alto sets itself apart from the original ride-hailing companies by owning its own fleet of five-star crash rated mid-size SUVs (Buick Enclaves), hiring and training a stable of drivers and billing itself as offering “the safest, most consistent and highest quality experience.” The company bills itself as the “first employee-based, on-demand rideshare company rethinking a traditionally inconsistent, gig-based industry.”
As for cleanliness and safety in this COVID-19 era, Alto temperature-checks all of its drivers, requires between-ride cleanings and has even installed Plexiglass barriers between the driver and passengers.
Yes, it is pricier than its two top competitors, but riders’ reviews have overwhelming given Alto a thumbs up.