alto

alto

Courtesy of Alto

Since dot.LA covered its launch two years ago, Santa Monica-based rideshare company Alto has hired 300 staff members to join its growing team of drivers. But unlike its competitors, Alto classifies every driver as a W-2 employee.

“They're not gig economy workers that show up whenever they feel,” general manager Sevag Konialian tells dot.LA, “they have hours that correlate with the schedule they signed up with.”

Applicants that are interested in joining the Alto family, as Konialian puts it, must fill out a form online with their desired schedule. Once the application is complete, an Alto member reaches out to the applicant for a remote interview. After the interview, the potential driver will receive a driver training course list that they must complete.

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The Texas ride-hailing startup Alto hopes to give tech giants like Uber and Lyft some stiff competition in Southern California with an employee model and a slew of safety measures — from masks to HEPA cabin air filters.

The company launched its app in Los Angeles on Tuesday at a time when the pandemic has hurt ride-hailing services' bottom lines and employee relations remain frayed by a spat over working conditions.

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Over the last three years, L.A. Lyft driver Nicole Moore has watched her paychecks shrink as her hours have grown. Frustrated, she's ready to leave her part-time gig, but until now there have been few options. That's about to change.

This year, two Texas-based companies are going after one of rideshare giants Uber and Lyft's biggest markets: Los Angeles.

Dallas-based Alto plans to begin their services by the end of October. And the Austin collective Arcade City will start marketing its ride-hailing app in Los Angeles Tuesday. They will be joining other apps already trying to steal away market share such as Wingz and Swoop.

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