Positioning Alto as an "elevated" experience compared to existing apps, co-founder Will Coleman said the service incorporates logistics technology, personalization and touches from the hospitality industry, such as the service's own in-car scent.
"You know, when you go to a hotel, your hotel room is your room. It's not somebody else's room that you're just kind of staying and for the afternoon. That is how we wanted to think about the passenger experience," he said.
Riders can also use the app to customize their music and its volume as well as the level of conversation with the driver.
Alto also maintains a fleet of six-passenger luxury SUVs, with an all-electric fleet option in development, and all of its drivers are trained, vetted, uniformed employees.
To protect the health of riders and drivers from COVID-19, Alto vehicles now include protective equipment, HEPA air filters and plexiglass barriers and regularly undergo cleaning and disinfecting.
Alto will launch in Houston on Oct. 1, initially serving a 70-square-mile area generally located around the West Loop, but it will provide rides to any destination in the city, including airports.
"As we add cars and drivers each month, we will continue to expand like to cover more and more areas and reach areas like Katy, the Woodlands—the entire area," Coleman said.
The service allows users to book rides through the Alto app. It offers a $99 annual membership that discounts ride fees by 30% and gives members priority during peak demand periods.