Ford Buys Van-Sharing Startup, Backs Bike-Sharing

September 12, 2016 at 12:19 AM

Ford Motor Co.’s Smart Mobility LLC unit has agreed to buy Chariot Transit Inc., a San Francisco-based private shuttle service, for an undisclosed amount.

Chariot currently operates 100 Ford Transit shuttle vans. They ferry commuters along 28 routes in the Bay Area from home to work and back at $4 per ride. Routes currently are determined by rider demand. The partners aim to use data algorithms to enable routes to vary constantly in response to community needs.

Ford cites internal research that indicates every such dynamically deployed shuttle can reduce peak rush hour traffic congestion by 25 vehicles. The carmaker plans to expand Chariot service to at least five more markets within the next 18 months.

Separately, Ford has partnered with Motivate, the bike-share service provider, to hike the number of bikes available in the Bay Area to 7,000 by the end of 2018. The service, dubbed Ford GoBike, will link users with available bikes through the online FordPass platform, which was developed to help drivers find and book available parking spots.