There’s Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Gett, the list goes on.
Hailing a cab now has an endless amount of alternatives. But get ready to add another one to that list: Hitch. Hitch claims to take car sharing to the next level while cutting the pricey costs of Uber and Lyft by 50%.
Hitch operates similarly to Uber in that you can order a car to pick you up via an app. You can also track the car as it approaches your location, and you can pay for the ride directly in the app. The main difference is that you’ll probably be sharing that ride with a complete stranger. The ultimate form of car sharing.
The pricing model starts with a base of about $US6 per every two miles plus a dollar for each additional rider in your group. The cost takes into consideration time, distance, and the “pairing factor,” which accounts for the likelihood of the ride being shared by another rider based on Hitch’s algorithm and aggregated data. As the company grows, the pricing model will evolve and adjust in a more real-time fashion based on Hitch data.
Before you even get in the car, Hitch will give you the cost of the ride upfront. Whether or not any other riders are in the car, that will be the price you pay. You may take a short detour to pick up a new rider, but Hitch does not charge you for those miles, and it tries to only make detours that make sense in terms of where you’re going. The idea is that it’s kind of like a bus that makes a bunch of stops on the way to your location, just it’s a bit more private and comfortable. So you don’t get a personal driver, but you pay a lot less than you would for an Uber.
And Hitch’s cofounder Snir Kodesh believes that the lower price is just one of the many benefits of the app. For him, what’s really exciting is the social interactions that come with this true form of ride sharing.
“Today when you talk about rideshare ultimately it’s a one to one service, it operates the same way as a cab,” Kodesh told Business Insider. “You don’t get those rich interactions that you’d get if you put two people in the vehicle.”
When Hitch pairs you with another rider, it will provide you with their mutual Facebook friends and interest to help break the ice and get conversation going. While you’re definitely not forced to talk to your fellow passengers, the idea is to create a community of riders that could be a social network if you so desire.
Who knows, maybe Hitch will one day compete with Tinder or LinkedIn.
One Hitch user got some key pointers on the way to work when he was paired with an employee at Hired in his Hitch ride. The man used Hired for his own company, and his fellow Hitch passenger gave him some tips on how to better use the platform.
“They didn’t know each other going in, he got pointers, they exchanged business cards,” Kodesh said. “It was a functional ride.”
After every ride, users are asked to rate both their drivers and their fellow passengers, that way Hitch can kick someone out for any inappropriate or unwanted behaviour. Hitch also makes sure to always leave the middle seat open (unless you request a ride for a group of four) so that you can keep some personal space if you don’t want to be on top of a stranger.
For now, Hitch is just operating in San Francisco and on a limited schedule with 8 cars on the street at a time. But the company is planning to expand to more locations in the near future. According to Kodesh, the company’s first goal is to expand to more hours in San Francisco and then they will expand to new locations, starting with Los Angeles.