Downtown Austin businesses boot up for SXSW Festival

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Austin economy is about to get one big jolt thanks to South By Southwest. The festival has grown leaps and bounds in recent years, and you better believe business people know it.

“It’s just like go, go, go, basically,” said Estrella Gonzales as she and three co-workers at Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill prepare new menus for SXSW. They expect three-hour wait times at their downtown restaurant this week.

“Constantly, and it’s quick table turns,” said Gonzales. “Everyone is just kind of getting ready.”

“From when the doors open until close, it’s just non-stop,” said Justin Morly, who works as a server at Moonshine.

SXSW brought $315 million to Austin last year. Workers prepare silverware all around town for the tens of thousands that descend on the city. What’s happening at Moonshine is basically happening all around downtown. Most bars agree – SXSW is the busiest time of year.

“Austin has a high demand for parking,” said David Hazarian, who works for Austin Valet. He’s excited for the extra business starting this week.

“I feel like I’m alleviating Austin’s parking problem just a little bit, maybe not by much to notice but I know I’m doing the right thing,” he said.

If you want to beat the traffic that comes with the festival, Capital Metro will expand services that run until 12:30 a.m. until 2:30 March 13 through March 19. Those services will expand to 2:30 a.m. the March 20-21. MetroRail will also run later, some nights until 2:30 am. Click here for a full schedule.

Ahead of SXSW, ride-sharing company Uber is launching UberPool. It lets you share a ride with a stranger, splitting the fare if you’re going in the same direction. Uber says the new program will help reduce the number of cars on Austin roads..

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