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Culture / Cars

New Texas Driven Ride-Sharing Service Promises Plusher, Safer Rides With Company Drivers

Will the Dallas-Born Alto Frighten Uber and Lyft?

BY // 01.24.19

On-demand car rides are entrenched in the daily lives of Texas city dwellers. Getting from point A to point B without worrying about valet or parking has become a way of life with ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft.

But is there a better, plusher way?

A new company called Alto just launched in Dallas, offering on-demand rides via a company-managed-and-operated fleet of SUVs. Unlike traditional ride-sharing services, Alto is a members-only subscription service that employs its own drivers.

Prepare to hail your next ride at the touch of a button and set your own vibe in this customized riding experience.

“From our drivers to our engineers, each person at Alto is obsessed with our customers’ experience,” Alto CEO Will Coleman says.

Coleman and Alexandra Halbardier, both Dallas natives, are the founders this hot startup that just secured $14.5 million in funding. European-based Road Ventures and Frog Ventures, the global design firm’s venture arm, are the main big money investment backers.

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The new Dallas-based on-demand rides service places a supreme focus on safety and hospitality, while putting the rider in control of the ride, all from the backseat. The Alto fleet of new, well-maintained vehicles boasts in-app music selections, lighting and conversation controls.

You can literally — and politely — mute your driver with a Do Not Disturb selection on the app. This is ideal for riders wanting to get work done en route to their next meeting, or for someone who just wants to unwind with some quiet time.

“Our service is for consumers who want to feel at ease and in control of their ride,” Coleman says. “They don’t want to feel like they have to conform to the preferences of their driver but instead want to feel the same control as driving their own car.”

alto
Alto allows you to schedule your ride a week in advance.

The Alto experience costs a membership fee $12.95 each month, with that unlocking access to the traditional black car service rides at a fraction of the typical price. Each additional ride incurs a fee on top of the monthly membership price, and every ride is accompanied by car-stocked amenities such as bottled water and umbrellas, and consistency any time the Alto app is deployed.

The founders, Coleman and Alex Halbardier, cling to this mantra. Whether an Alto vehicle is being requested in the morning, evening or even next week, they want the high quality customer experience to be replicated seamlessly each time.

Safety, a foundational principle of the brand, starts with each employee driver undergoing a thorough vetting process with background checks and a training program to ensure each ride is high caliber. The driver’s performance is monitored in real-time using telematics like speed, acceleration and even tire pressure. The company vehicles all have in-car cameras to monitor and prevent distracted driving.

“We have rigorous safety policies and an algorithm that grades each driver’s safety performance based on those standards,” Coleman says. “Drivers are incentivized on both their safety score and customer service.”

And the dedicated fleet of five-star crash-rated SUVs are maintained daily, to ensure a clean and pleasant trip.

In addition, the Alto technology guarantees predictable timing. The company focuses on strategically spreading out the fleet of vehicles around town so an Alto is always 10 to 15 minutes away.

“Imagine getting in an on-demand ride to actually relax, decompress and just feel at ease,” Coleman says. “Our customer is at the center of everything we do.”

The group is focused on Dallas right now, but has plans of spreading the Alto brand beyond the Big D.

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