Hitch, the ride-sharing company launched by University of Texas at Austin students in 2018, has expanded to Florida.

The Austin-based company has already facilitated 60,000 rides in Texas, said Kush Singh, the company’s co-founder, and CEO. It operates in every major Texas city.

“Things have gone phenomenally well in Texas,” Singh said. “We were thinking about where to go next. Florida had a lot of similarities in terms of route lengths to Texas.”

A couple of months ago, Hitch began providing long-distance ride-share service in Florida.

“We’ve launched in nearly every major city in Florida,” Singh said.

Hitch reports that trips of more than 50 miles are typically five times less expensive with Hitch than Uber and Lyft. Hitch drivers can also deliver packages like forgotten computer cords, medicines, etc. between cities that are needed the same day.

Hitch connects drivers and riders through its app, available for IOS or Android. Trips can be booked up to 60 days in advance or on the same day as travel.

The idea for Hitch was born out of frustration Singh and Cofounder Tanuj Girish experienced firsthand trying to get rides home from Austin to Houston and Dallas. They created Hitch as a more affordable alternative to a plane ride or bus. Both dropped out of UT Austin to run the venture full time.

Hitch’s customers book rides using an iPhone or Android app and Hitch’s system connects them with a driver with as little notice as one hour before departure. The parties meet at a coffee shop near the route and drop off at a similar location in the destination city.

Next year, Hitch plans to launch an electric fleet of vehicles, Singh said. The company has already helped to reduce carbon emissions through ride-sharing and reducing the number of vehicles on the road.

The COVID-19 pandemic also affected Hitch’s business. Before the pandemic, 90 percent of the rides on Hitch’s platform were shared rides. It turns out that during the pandemic more people shifted to the private ride model which now makes up 60 percent of all rides.

Buses were incredibly unattractive to people during the pandemic, Singh said. As a result, people looked for alternatives, and Hitch’s business grew more than 400 percent during 2020.

“One of the things we learned is there is a lot of fluidity on the rider and driver side of the marketplace,” Singh said. A lot of Hitch’s riders drive and vice versa, he said.

Another reason why the Hitch app is popular with riders is that people don’t like to plan, Singh said. Ninety-five percent of Hitch’s bookings are done on the same day or the night before the trip, he said.

Hitch operates from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and it has departures every two hours, Flexibility is baked into the model.  

Next year, Hitch also plans to expand to more states in the Midwest and Northeast, Singh said.

Hitch has raised seed-stage funding. The company has 30 employees in Austin and offices on East 11th Street.