If you turn to astrology to guide your love life, you're not alone. About 45% of people who are looking for their soul connection consider astrological signs when swiping and a new Austin-based app is making it even easier.
Ilios, an Austin-based relationship-building app, lets the stars guide you to your soulmate by filtering out those most compatible to you based on astrology. CEO Melanie Davidson told Austonia they're looking to turn the surface-level world of dating on its head and give Austinites a connection that is more modern.
ilios is a niche dating app that hopes to give Austinites a deeper connection. (ilios)
One of the app's most famous profile-holders, former American Idol and The Bachelor contestant Trevor Holmes, has signed on as the Chief Influencer Officer for the app. As the reportedly most-swiped person on Bumble and a swoon-worthy reality TV contestant, Holmes, in his vast dating experience, has said that the first question he gets asked on dates is "What's your sign?"
"We are trying to make it more equitable across gender lines," Davidson said.
The app has a real-life story: When ilios's founder, an Austin man who Davidson said is choosing to remain anonymous, recently went through a divorce, he took to dating apps like Tinder and Bumble to get back out there. Although many of the profiles mention astrological signs, it didn't take into account star sign compatibility the way he wanted it to.
Ilios uses the traditional swipe left and right method on profiles, but what sets it apart is the prominent display of Western (the astrological signs used to read horoscopes, e.g. Aries), Eastern (the Chinese zodiac, e.g. year of the ox) and Vedic (the Hindu reading of stars) astrology signs. Those on the app can swipe based on a compatibility score that focuses on signs and lifestyle choices—think politics, religion, family aspirations—from zero-100.
Your Western and Eastern Zodiac are the main factors on the app. (ilios)
"It's really helping surface compatibility and then sort of taking dating to the next evolution," Davidson said. "We're staying modern about how people identify and things of that nature. I love that aspect of it."
On ilios, the days of having to surrender your phone to your friends for them to scroll through your matches are over. The app has a matchmaker function, which is a friend's account that connects to your own, allowing those closest to you to swipe on your behalf and recommend matches.
"I always seek my friends' help and advice and the only way I can do that today is if I relinquish my phone entirely," Davidson said. "It's another fun way for people to engage. You don't have to be single to be utilizing the app, you can certainly do it on behalf of a friend."
And you can use the app to find friends if that's your prerogative by adjusting your settings to "social connection." Austin is currently the only city with full ilios capabilities, so locals can be the first to join the few thousand who are already swiping. Ilios has plans to expand to Denver, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago in the near future.
"We specifically chose Austin to launch our app because it's the perfect city for it," Davidson said. "Austinites, in our experience, are super fun and open to new and different ideas, experiences and ways of thinking. We think any Austinites looking for a match beyond the superficial swipe will love ilios."Though the app is currently available in the app store, it will be officially launched at 6 p.m. on Friday at EastSide Tavern. The event will be open to the public, with three former Bachelor contestants attending, and only requires you to show your profile to attend.
- New Austin-based rideshare app hopes to cut down costs. - austonia ›
- Citizen smartphone app already has 50,000 Austin users - austonia ›
- Freebird app rewards Austinites for supporting local businesses ... ›
- App hopes to 'de-escalate' racist traffic stops - austonia ›
- Find love in Austin with these apps and speed dating events - austonia ›
- Austin tops New York, Los Angeles as best U.S. dating city - austonia ›
- Taurus season: See what your horoscope says about you - austonia ›
The Austin airport is warning travelers to “pack your patience” as it expects this Memorial Day weekend to be the busiest in airport history.
This weekend will kick off a period of more than 4.8 million passengers passing through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport by the end of summer—contributing to a projected record-breaking year of 22 million passengers at ABIA.
The surge in traffic at the airport comes as ABIA considers itself officially recovered from the pandemic's impact, an airport spokesperson ABIA Public Information Specialist Bailey Grimmett told Austonia. Additionally, the population growth in Central Texas and more service offered from ABIA has meant more people at the airport, she said. However, it has come under fire for increasingly long wait times at TSA and not having enough parking.
Flying soon? Here’s how to prepare for a busy airport this summer.
Arrive hours early for your flight, especially if it's in the morning
Summer travel lines in September 2021. (Austonia)
The busiest passenger traffic days in summer 2021 were Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays, according to a release but each day of the week is expected to see increased traffic this summer. Lines tend to be longest before 8 a.m. and sometimes mid-morning hours.
Grimmett told Austonia the average person should arrive at the airport two-and-a-half hours before boarding time for domestic flights or three hours early for international flights. You might want to tack on extra time if…
- You need to park or are returning a rental.
- You’re traveling with a big group, children or those who require assistance.
- You’re checking in baggage.
Familiarize yourself with TSA requirements
The worst thing while traveling is getting stuck in security and having to repack all of your belongings. If you’re traveling with a carry-on of toiletries, medication or food, double-check with TSA.gov if you’re not sure.Security screening checkpoints open at 3 a.m. and Grimmett said don’t hesitate to ask a staff member if you need help. Faster screening is available by applying for TSA PreCheck or Clear screening for an extra fee.
Rather wait for the rush to die down?
Grimmett said to expect near-constant high traffic through August, when students return to school and tourist season ends. The lull is short-lived though—ABIA typically sees another travel uptick in October for events like F1 and ACL Festival.
Once you’re inside, refer to our complete guide to ABIA for a look at the amenities.
By Kali Bramble
Calls for firmer regulation of the dockless scooters, mopeds and e-bikes scattered about the city may hit the desks of City Council in coming months, as a recommendation from the Downtown Commission makes its way to the agenda.
The recommendation proposes stricter requirements for providers to remove devices blocking sidewalks, crosswalks and other rights of way and increase fees for subsequently impounded vehicles. The proposal also calls for implementing a ticketing system for riders who violate municipal traffic code or state law.
Since 2018, the steady influx of electronic scooters has left Austin’s Transportation Department scrambling to integrate the devices into city infrastructure. As of this year, companies Bird, Lime, LINK, and Wheels collectively operate a total of 14,100 micromobility devices, many of which are concentrated in Austin’s urban core.
“I walked out of my office at Sixth and Congress today at noon and counted 65 scooters laying on their side,” Texas Monthly founder Michael Levy said in a public comment. “It looks like a war zone.”
Critics of the exploding scooter market cite incidents of devices blocking pedestrian walkways for days on end. Under the commission’s proposal, improperly discarded devices would be subject to impounding within two hours, with the time limit reduced to one hour in the downtown area. A $100 release fee along with a $5 per day storage fee would go toward investment in infrastructure solutions, such as augmenting the 25 existing parking corrals throughout the city.
Detractors also cite episodes of reckless and inebriated scooter riders as an increasing public health problem. While restrictions like in-app speed reduction technology have sought to mitigate such incidents, emergency room workers anecdotally report an alarming number of scooter-related injuries, especially on weekends. Preliminary data from Austin Public Health supports such claims, though it is still a challenge to quantify.
Micromobility advocates, on the other hand, argue that scooters provide an important service to those navigating Austin’s patchwork public transportation system. The Transportation Department considers such short-distance mobility options another solution in its toolbox to combat the city’s over-reliance on cars.
Still, scooter skeptics wonder if these benefits outweigh consequences. Levy noted that cities like San Diego have responded very differently to the burgeoning industry, instituting strict regulations and penalties that have reduced the presence of scooters without banning them entirely.
The Downtown Commission’s recommendation proposes citations for scooter riders violating municipal parking and traffic laws amounting to $100 for first-time offenders, followed by $250 for subsequent offenses. The proposal would also ban scooter-riding on a number of highly trafficked sidewalks, though these remain unspecified.
The commission hopes such tools could work alongside efforts by the Transportation Department to ramp up enforcement, including the recent establishment of 10 full-time mobility service officer positions charged with regulating scooter use. Increased revenue from licensing fees and ticketing could also serve to finance infrastructure solutions.
“It’s shocking to me that we currently only get around $1 million a year out of these fees,” Commissioner Mike Lavigne said. “I did some rough math … and figure we’ve maybe gotten $6 million since this thing started. It seems to me like we could be getting a whole lot more to invest in making it more sustainable, like more docking stations and corrals, so there’s somewhere for these scooters to go.”