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I’ve been to Austin a few times for various conferences and gatherings, and I’ve always been there without a car. So I’ve tried a few different ways to get from AUS airport to Downtown Austin, and I thought that I would share some of what I’ve found out. There are a few different ways you can try, but I think I’ve found the best way to get from Austin airport to Downtown Austin, and I thought I would display the different options so that you can make the right decision for your particular situation.

How to get from Austin airport to Downtown Austin – car, taxi or Uber

You can get from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) by taxi or Uber of course, but depending on traffic, you’re going to be either paying an arm and a leg… or TWO arms and TWO legs :-).  How far is it from AUS airport to Downtown Austin?  It’s only about 7 or 8 miles, depending on where exactly you’re going, but it can take quite awhile if there’s traffic.

It will take you about 15-20 minutes if there’s no traffic, and can be as much as 30 to 45 minutes if traffic is bad.  How much will it cost to get from AUS to Downtown Austin with Uber? In the times I’ve checked, it’s been anywhere from $18 to $40

If you do want to take a taxi, you can generally get better rates if you book it through a service like Carmel Limo — plus you can save $4 off using this link.

There are a variety of airport shuttles as well which will cost about the same amount to get from Austin.  You can check out GO Airport Shuttle, and use coupon code GOWEB to save $5 off your ride anywhere between AUS and points downtown.

The cheapest and best way to get from Austin airport to Austin (or the University of Texas)

My preferred way to get from AUS to downtown austin and what I think is the best way to get from the Austin airport to downtown is taking public transport.  The Austin public transport network isn’t as robust as that of other (larger) cities, but there’s a fairly high-frequency bus route (Bus 20) that goes from the airport through downtown and then up past the University of Texas (UT). Last time I was in Austin, I took the bus (for $1.25) and saved 97% on my airport ride as compared to taking Uber.

Using Austin CapMetro Bus 20 to get from AUS / ABIA to Downtown Austin

Bus 20 runs every 15 minutes from the airport, and you’ll pick it up directly in front of the terminal building as soon as you walk outside. Compare this to taking an Uber or Lyft, where you’ll need to walk through the parking garage a few more minutes in order to get to the rideshare pickup area. Bus 20 takes about 35 minutes to go from Austin-Bergstrom airport to Downtown Austin. After that, it continues north past the State Capitol building and then to the University of Texas (UT). Of course, depending on where exactly you’re going, you may also have to walk a few minutes to get to your final destination.

When I was riding the bus, it was not crowded at all, though it’s worth mentioning that there weren’t really a ton of places to put your luggage, like you sometimes see on airport buses. In my case, I was traveling with only a backpack, so it wasn’t a big deal. It’s also worth noting that there is no wifi on Austin CapMetro Bus 20 – I just read my book while I traveled stress-free to Downtown Austin.

The Bottom Line

The total trip from AUS to Downtown Austin should take you about 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic.  While it will probably be somewhat slower than taking a taxi or Uber, it is definitely significantly cheaper to take the bus to get from AUS to Downtown Austin.

Readers – any other tips on how to get from Austin airport to Downtown Austin or UT? 

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