Ford is teaming up with major global cities to solve congestion issues and help people move more easily.
The company is announcing an agreement to acquire Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, and collaborating with bike-sharing provider, Motivate, to expand its transportation solutions in city centres. Ford is also establishing a new City Solutions team to work with cities around the world on their transportation needs.
“We’re expanding our business to be both an auto and a mobility company, and partnering with cities on current and future transportation needs is the next major step,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “For more than 100 years, Ford has been part of the community and the trusted source for automotive transportation. Now, we want to work with communities to offer even more transportation choices and solutions for people – for decades to come.”
Ford Smart Mobility
“Cities globally are dealing with increased congestion – which can be addressed by developing mobility solutions fine-tuned to the unique challenges of each location,” said Jim Hackett, chairman, Ford Smart Mobility LLC, the company’s subsidiary created to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services. “At the same time, by expanding our business model to include new forms of transportation – from bikes to dynamic shuttles and more – we are introducing new customers to Ford and creating new revenue and profit opportunities for the future.”
Ford’s acquisition of Chariot, subject to normal customary closing conditions, will serve as the cornerstone for its new global shuttle services business. The shuttle service is expected to be expanded beyond San Francisco to at least five additional markets in the next 18 months.
Started in 2014, Chariot operates nearly 100 Ford Transit shuttles along 28 routes throughout San Francisco Bay Area. Today, Chariot’s routes are crowd-sourced based on rider demand. In the future, they will operate dynamically – using data algorithms to map efficient routes to best serve the real-time mobility needs of communities.
“Chariot’s mission from day one has been to solve the commute by providing a mass transit solution that is fast, reliable and affordable for people living in today’s cities,” said Ali Vahabzadeh, Chariot co-founder and CEO. “We started our Chariot service with Ford’s 15-passenger vehicles and continue to use Ford Transit shuttles to this day. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be Ford Smart Mobility’s first acquisition and leverage its leadership in transportation to fulfill Chariot’s goals worldwide.”