Uber's Biggest Rival Acquired A Startup That'll Help Make Rides Cheaper

Lyft on a Big Wheel

Lynn Friedman/Flickr

Lyft drivers put pink mustaches like these on their vehicles.

Car-sharing service Lyft announced today that it is acquiring Hitch, a San Francisco-based service that connects passengers who are traveling along similar routes.

The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The move will give a boost to Lyft Line, the company's carpooling feature that it announced last month.

With Lyft Line, you set your destination, and Lyft will match you with someone who's already on your route, offering up to 60% off the original price of the ride. If it can't match you up with someone else on the route, you'll still get a discount on your ride. Lyft Line is only available in San Francisco, and will expand to Los Angeles soon.

Hitch's concept is similar: You request a ride and tell the app where you want to be dropped off and how many passengers will be traveling with you. Then, if another person requests a ride going in the same direction, the app will create a route that works best for both passengers.

The app gets a little deeper, too. It shows you some Facebook information about your fellow passengers, like mutual friends and shared "likes."

Hitch's cofounders, Snir Koesh and Noam Szpiro, will join Lyft. Hitch's service will shut down Tuesday. Before creating Hitch, they created an app called Corral Rides. That app aggregated all the different transportation options available, including Uber and Lyft, and breaking down price and time tables for each option. But it was soon shut down because Uber and Lyft and other ride-sharing apps don't provide an open API, according to TechCrunch.

Hitch will close today, and its drivers will be able to become Lyft drivers. Lyft says it will host a kickoff event that will make the transition to the platform easy for Hitch drivers.

The move to buy a platform that's strictly devoted to carpools shouldn't come as a surprise. Many of the major ride-sharing apps offer a carpool option. Uber announced UberPool the night before Lyft was set to launch Lyft Line. And that same week, Sidecar announced its version, called Shared Rides.

But California state regulators might soon be cracking down on the various carpool options. The Public Utilities Commission sent letters last week to each of the services, saying that the carpooling option violates state law, according to PC World.