Coming to Atlanta for the Final Four? Here’s a trio of apps for that.
For those of you who might be making last-minute plans as a result of unexpected bracket results (or who have friends popping into town), these travel-friendly downloads can help you make the most out of the NCAA weekend. All are available on your iPhone, BlackBerry or Android.
Everything you’ve heard about Atlanta’s traffic is true. In fact, it might be worse. We live in our cars down here. Every other road seems to be called “Peachtree.” If that’s not bad enough, we like to change the names of streets from time to time. In short, if you can avoid driving, do. While Atlanta’s mass transit system, MARTA, is an option, it might not get you everywhere you want to go. So try Uber, which bills itself as “Everyone’s private driver.” The company started in 2010 and launched in Atlanta in August 2012. (Fun fact: Hip-hop artist Jermaine Dupri was Rider No. 1 in this market.)
Here’s how it works: Download the app and input user information including email, cellular number and credit card information. Then, when you’re ready to roll, simply call up the Uber app. Using GPS tracking, the system will locate you and send a car to fetch you when you confirm. Your driver will arrive in a town car or SUV, whichever you specify, and no money will change hands. (The tip is included.) You’ll receive an email indicating how much your fare cost.
During the Final Four weekend, Uber is offering a discount to new users. Use the code “TheUber4” for $20 off your first ride in Atlanta, anytime from March 30 to April 8. If that’s not exciting enough, Uber vehicles will offer Red Bull beverages to its clients during Final Four festivities. The minimum fare is $15 for a town car and $25 for an SUV, with a $10 cancellation fee for each. The average fare, according to Uber Atlanta general manager Keith Marcel Radford, is between $25 and $30. You can price sample trips at www.uber.com/cities/atlanta.
This is the app for folks who, like Rick Blaine in “Casablanca,” don’t like making plans that far ahead. As the name suggests, Hotel Tonight, which was founded in 2010 and currently operates in more than 8o locations including Atlanta, can help you get a room for tonight. In some cases, you can reserve a room for a few nights, but don’t bank on it.
Here’s how it works: After noon on the day in question, call up the app and see what’s available. Hotel Tonight moves last-minute hotel inventory, rated as “luxe,” “hip,” “basic” or “solid.” In Atlanta, places such as the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead or Georgian Terrace in Midtown are considered luxe while the Artmore in Midtown is hip. Rooms will probably go fast during the Final Four, so get tapping at noon or shortly thereafter. You can reserve a room for the night up until 2 a.m. For more details, see www.hoteltonight.com.
A party planner in your palm, this Atlanta-based app branched out from Groupon-esque mobile deals and now features all sorts of fun stuff. This app also launched in 2010 (a big year for apps, evidently) and leads users to deals they can score immediately as well as experiences they can plan for.
Here’s how it works: Download the app and start moving. Deals, such as discounts at nearby restaurants or stores, will pop up based on where you are. Find one that strikes your fancy, and pounce. Easy! For the slightly less impromptu, Scoutmob offers deals on outings ranging from cheap (a $10 tour of Oakland Cemetery) to splurge (a $356 biplane ride over Atlanta). For details, see scoutmob.com.