Former UT students aim to create affordable long-distance transportation

Hayden Baggett

Hitch, a long-distance ride-hailing startup founded by two former UT students, is relaunching its operations in early December.

Hitch pairs drivers with passengers traveling to the same city. The company, formerly known as Krew, started August 2017 and paused their services a year later amid their partnership with the founders of uShip, a freight transportation startup created by UT alumni.

Tanuj Girish, chief technology officer and co-founder of Hitch, said the company is pivoting to focus on rides between Houston and Austin while increasing drivers. 

“The main focus after this rebrand and relaunch is trying to capture empty seat capacity by attracting drivers that are already traveling from Austin to Houston or Houston to Austin,” said Girish. “We want to guarantee every ride that comes through the platform and just deliver a great experience.”

CEO and co-founder Kush Singh said he started Hitch to make the city-to-city travel industry both convenient and affordable.

“As a driver, you just hop in the car and start going toward your destination, and if we can find passengers exactly along your route, we match you to them,” Singh said. “As a rider, it’s extremely similar — 30 to 45 minutes before you need a ride, you can hop on the app and book it.”

Each ride costs $30 to $40, Singh said, and drivers earn roughly $20 while Hitch collects the remainder.

Singh said over 100 background-checked drivers have signed up and serviced more than 1,000 rides since Hitch started. He said they have hired seven staffers and accumulated more than $200,000 from investors. Singh said the company teamed up with uShip to raise capital to fund expansion.

After operations resume, Singh said they will publish a new website and adjust their mobile app for the refocus on rides between Houston and Austin.

 Isaac Gorman, a communication and leadership junior, has driven for Hitch in the past. He said the company’s service is similar to the old idea of hitchhiking.

 “I naturally just want to go see my family all the time, and Hitch makes it easier for people to do that,” Gorman said.

 Gorman said using the platform helps him meet new people and cut down on gasoline costs.

Girish said making this a possibility had several complications along the way, but they manage to stay positive.

"We’re passionate about this,” Girish said. “We’ll give anything to make it successful.”