Alongside Capital Metro buses, Lime scooters and vehicles, is a new form of student transportation: limos.
No longer limited to celebrities or high school students going to prom, they’ve joined the winding, skinny streets of West Campus.
Rufus Marin, the manager and co-founder of West Campus Limos, said he came from the West Coast to Austin with entrepreneurship in mind. After working in real estate and offering limo rides for private clients, Marin said he was on a drive one day when a student knocked on the window and asked for the price of a group ride to 6th Street.
From there, the idea for West Campus Limos was born. The company has now been in operation for three months.
“The business of limos is old-fashioned,” Marin said. “Typically when people think of a limo, the first thing that comes to mind is (paying) $300 to $400, but we’re trying to make it to where it’s accessible for everybody, students especially.”
Because the headquarters and limos are located in West Campus, on 25th and San Gabriel streets, the limos are able to pick up students from West Campus and drop them off at their destination. Students can text the number from their website, provide a pickup location and time and as long as the group meets the limo’s capacity, the price is $5 per person.
“The goal is to help students get from point A to point B safely, avoid drunk driving, have more fun in the process and pay affordable prices,” Marin said.
Nick Velasquez worked alongside Marin in real estate during the summer, and after listening to Marin’s student transportation idea, the two created West Campus Limos.
“I came up with the name West Campus Limos so it catered toward students,” co-founder Velasquez said. “It’s here for students, and that name makes it more inclusive.”
Velasquez compared the service to Uber or Lyft because students can book a limo up to 30 minutes before riding rather than booking weeks in advance like a traditional limo company.
“I know the only reason that I would use (West Campus Limos) is if you can call whenever,” Velasquez said. “I would never book a limo two weeks in advance for a trip just to downtown. Like who does that?”
Radio-television-film junior Thomas Palomera has used the service multiple times and said that he has had a good experience each time.
“I was slightly suspicious at first because $5 limos seems too good to be true,” Palomera said. “But it was fun and better than taking an Uber because you can have one group instead of five different groups of people taking a bunch of Ubers and getting there at different times.”
In the future, Marin and Velasquez said that they hope to expand more into the UT community and other college campuses around the United States.
“I think what we’re bringing is something more fun for bigger groups and at affordable prices,” Marin said. “It’s nothing necessarily new in the realm of transportation, just a new way of transport, and if this becomes a national startup, we want (West Campus, Austin) to be the home base.”