Fasten Calls It Quits
Another rideshare bites the dust
Austin has lost another stalwart in its rideshare wars. Fasten, the Boston-based company with Russian roots, announced on Friday that it would shutter its operations within the U.S. In a statement, the company revealed it was purchased by Russian ridesharing giant Vezet Group, which will absorb the Fasten brand and technology to further its own business. In the Friday announcement, Fasten co-founder and CEO Kirill Evdakov said he was proud of the company's product and "people first" mission. "Fasten will continue on," he said, "just in a different incarnation, powering a key player in the Russian market."
Fasten came to Austin along with a host of other transportation network companies after Uber and Lyft's temporary departures in 2016. Fasten and its nonprofit counterpart RideAustin both willingly operated under the city conditions Uber and Lyft scorned, and the two built up a healthy partnership since the titans returned last summer. Fasten just recently set up an orientation base for drivers in East Austin, leaving many in the community – including RideAustin – shocked at the news of their departure. At a RideAustin event on Tuesday, CEO Andy Tryba said he hopes Fasten's drivers and riders searching for a rideshare with a similar ethos will join their cause. And there are some early signs to support that hope: RideAustin saw a 25% increase in volume the day after Fasten shut down. "We're hanging on," said Tryba.