Ford Bringing Shared Mobility to Nine New Cities

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Blue Oval Partners with Chariot to Expand Private Commuter Shuttle Program

In a press conference from the North American International Auto Show this week, Ford CEO Mark Fields detailed a 2017 initiative to reinvent mass transit by expanding the San Francisco and Austin-based “Chariot” program to nine additional cities. They include eight in the U.S. and one abroad. Fields did not specify which cities would see the new program rolled out over the next 12 months. However, he said previously that each new city would be evaluated based on their individual needs.

Chariot operates much like a bus, following a prescribed route for commuters in the morning and afternoon, bringing people to and from work. The service operates via a mobile phone app that requires you to reserve your space ahead of time and catch the shuttle at predetermined stops along the route. You might say that this service falls somewhere between a rideshare and public transit like buses and trains. In the case of their recent San Francisco expansion, the company started with a single route and has expanded operations to dozens of lines from San Jose up to Berkeley as the demand has risen.

Ford is looking to help Chariot expand, and they’ll be using their Transit vans, as depicted above, to do just that. Working with cities and current transportation providers, Ford hopes to develop close partnerships to improve the infrastructure of the program. Weary of riding the oft-maligned public transport, Chariot patrons are treated to a less strenuous experience and more comfortable ride. What’s more, Chariot and Ford have aligned their goals to launch completely autonomous road-going cars by 2021. With further expansion of the program in the following 5 years, it is entirely possible that you could be riding to work in an unmanned Chariot-operated Ford full-sized van. Call us crazy, but this sounds promising.

Bradley Brownell is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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