Hitch offers students chance to drive, ride between major Texas cities

The Battalion

By Caroline Wilburn

Published: October 11, 2021

Cars traveling on freeway
University of Texas at Austin student, Kush Singh developed "Hitch" in 2019 as a way for students to travel across Texas and make money doing so. – Photo by Creative Commons

A normally monotonous and long trip along highways is now an opportunity for students to earn money and help out fellow Aggies.

Texas A&M’s Transportation Department recently partnered with ride-hailing company Hitch to offer students additional opportunities to travel out of College Station. CEO Kush Singh launched the business in January 2019 as a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin.

“I was always taking the Greyhound and the Megabus in between Dallas and Austin,” Singh said. “Sitting in the bus was the single most time-consuming event of the entire experience but ironically was also the part of [the] experience I [looked] forward to the least.”

The company encourages drivers who are already traveling a popular route to take others with them and earn money while doing so. Hitch vehicles are 4-door sedans, making it easy for students to book individual seats or the entire car for groups.

“[It] was to not just reinvent the wheel on how buses are booked or tracking buses, but to actually try and create an alternative transportation option that’s incredibly affordable and accessible to everybody,” Singh said. “[It’s] an experience that a lot of people will now look forward to.”

With a network of background checked drivers, Hitch allows students to freely travel without owning a car. Singh said one of his goals for Hitch is to promote trust and safety among riders by completing background checks and beginning to offer “women-only” rides.

“No carpooling companies will really [commit] to doing that, and I think we have,” Singh said. “I think that’s been a really strong thing, not only in College Station, but all across Texas.”

Singh said he wanted Hitch to own the experience so riders and drivers can avoid doing additional work in order to coordinate the carpool. A&M offers three convenient pick up spots located near the Commons, the Student Recreation Center and Northgate.

“What’s interesting about our model versus a traditional rideshare business like Uber and Lyft is it’s offsetting costs for the drivers, who are already headed in that direction, anyway,” Singh said. “Over 95 percent of people who are driving between cities aren’t making a single dime off their empty seats, and the way that we price is really toward how we can offset 100 percent of the gas cost on each leg for each driver.”

Current Hitch driver and former UT student Sherri Naqvi said she was introduced to the company as a freshman.

“Around sophomore year I started using the platform myself as [a] passenger,” Naqvi said. “I would go back home, a couple times to Houston where my family is. I liked it way more than taking the Megabus. It just felt a lot more comfortable to be in a nice car that was only you and maybe one other person, and I really felt comfortable there and at ease.”

During the initial COVID-19 lockdown, Hitch adapted it’s services to send packages and goods across the state of Texas. The company offers same-day delivery, which can be booked same-day or up to 60 days in advance, according to their website.

“If you were in Austin and you needed to ship a cake to your mom by tomorrow, then I would volunteer to take that because I’m already going to Houston,” Naqvi said. “I would just put it in my car and deliver it to her.”

Transportation Services has often received questions from students who are looking for inter-city travel, Sustainable Transportation manager Ron Steedly said in an email to The Battalion.

“We also promote our partnerships with inter-city travel providers to new students and parents who want to understand options if they come to College Station without a vehicle,” Steedly said in the email. “We now have several choices such as the inter-city/break shuttle, airport shuttle, smart trips ride matching service and Hitch.”

For more information on Hitch and other services, visit their website www.ridehitch.com.

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