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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