AUSTIN (KXAN) — With schools out and the summer season underway, more Central Texans have their sights set on summer destinations and vacations. Amid more expensive travel fees industrywide and lengthy lines at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, one locally-launched rideshare app is seeing increased interest in its services.
Since 2018, Hitch has operated out of Austin as a long-distance rideshare service, similar to an Uber or Lyft but with a more regional emphasis. The app’s growth trend has been consistent in the past four years, with seasonal peaks centered around holidays, college schedules and summertime, said Curtis Rogers, Hitch’s head of partnerships.
But with lengthier security lines at AUS and earlier arrival times suggested, he said Hitch is using its regional focus to attract clients interested in flying out of Houston or Dallas airports.
“[AUS] is suggesting you to come two-and-a-half hours early [before your boarding]. You could be in Houston, or most of the way to Dallas, by the time your flight actually takes off,” Rogers said. “Because of the questionable things around that, we have seen more of an increase in people inquiring to go to other airports in other cities.”
With larger airports like Houston’s a common Texas stop for connecting flights, Rogers said it’s an opportunity to remove the initial leg of flights, instead of flying directly out of Houston.
The app offers two service options, where riders can purchase either a single seat or, if traveling as a group, rent an entire vehicle for use. Single-seat services meet at a designated pickup location, while entire car rentals offer door-to-door services.
And with international flights, where making connections are critical to ensure smooth travels, time is of the essence, he said.
“We are seeing more people saying, you know, I’m okay flying out of Houston, but I’m not really interested in getting to the airport three-and-a-half, three hours early in that case, when they can just drive there and have more confidence,” he said.
“I think more people are looking at Houston connecting flights, and when they’re considering that when they’re making their travel plans, more and more, we’re looking at Hitch as a way to get to Houston rather than doing a connecting flight [in Austin], especially if there’s a price break,” he said.
From Austin, riders can travel to College Station, Houston, Dallas, Waco, San Marcos and San Antonio. Single-seat offerings start at $15, while entire cars’ rental costs begin at $79, per Hitch.
With the evolution of Austin’s mobility scene attracting scooters, alternative rideshare companies and expanding its public transit fleet, Rogers said Hitch is also attracting people who don’t have access to cars, such as college students or new hires coming to Austin who might lack a driver’s license.
“Hitch wants to be another feature of mobility for Austin people,” he said. “We’re seeing it more and more with the different mobility services, whether they’re Uber and Lyft, or scooters or different bus services or even CapMetro expanding their service. Hitch is just one more piece of that puzzle where we can allow someone to question whether or not they need to own a vehicle.”