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Lyft buys Hitch, giving its carpool feature a jumpstart

The peer-to-peer car service buys another ride-sharing platform that's focused on connecting multiple passengers along the same route.

Lyft began testing a carpool feature called Lyft Line in San Francisco in August. Lyft

Looking to boost its carpool feature, Lyft announced Monday that it has acquired the ride-sharing platform Hitch.

The idea behind Hitch is to connect multiple passengers traveling along similar routes. With the acquisition, Hitch will be incorporated into Lyft's platform and its co-founders Snir Kodesh and Noam Szpiro will join the Lyft team. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Similar to Lyft, Hitch has always believed the shared rides experience is inherently social, and we're excited that they're joining the team to accelerate this movement together," Lyft wrote in a blog post.

Lyft announced last month it was launching a carpool feature in San Francisco called Lyft Line. The idea is to let strangers in multiple locations but heading in the same direction share rides and split fares. Lyft said passengers can save an average of 30 percent to 40 percent off a ride with Lyft Line -- and up to 60 percent depending on the ride. Lyft said last week it was continuing to roll out Lyft Line by bringing it to Los Angeles.

The company's competitors, Uber and Sidecar, have also begun testing similar carpool services.

Despite Lyft expanding Lyft Line, the California Public Utilities Commission has its issues with the feature. The state regulatory agency issued a warning to Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar over their carpool features earlier this month -- saying it's illegal under California law to charge passengers an individual fare when carrying multiple people in one vehicle.

All three companies have all said they're willing to work with regulators to remedy the situation. A Lyft spokesperson told CNET last week that the company sees Lyft Line as more of a casual carpool feature rather than something like a multi-stop charter service, which is what it seems the law is addressing.

With Lyft's acquisition of Hitch, the Hitch platform will close down and Hitch drivers can start driving for Lyft.

"Lyft Line is in its early stages, and we're only beginning to see what we can do with shared ride," Lyft wrote. "We have seen incredible growth and demand for Lyft Line in San Francisco, and the Hitch team and technology will help us move even faster to bring shared rides to more people."

Update, September 23 at 11:08 a.m. PT: Clarifies that Lyft launched Lyft Line in August.