Looking to expand its mobility offerings, Dearborn automaker Ford Motor Co. today announced Chariot, its crowd-source shuttle service, will launch in New York City in August. Chariot offers commuters, some of whom live in transit deserts — areas not within walking distance of public transportation — a new travel option.
During typical commute times, Chariot shuttles will travel to busy areas where people work, then bring them back at the end of the day. Each Chariot accommodates more than a dozen passengers and guarantees seats for every rider. Riders check an app to find commuter routes near them and reserve a guaranteed seat for their assigned vehicle.
“Our mission at Chariot is to provide reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for as many people as possible,” says Ali Vahabzadeh, Chariot CEO. “We want to connect people more easily to where they want to go — whether they need help making it to a transit hub or live in an area underserved by public transportation.”
New York will be the first market to test the Chariot service, which will launch with two pre-planned service areas in Manhattan and Brooklyn at a flat rate of $4 per ride. Users can create additional service areas through crowd-sourcing, and Chariot plans to have more than 60 vehicles operating throughout New York City this fall.
Additionally, a Chariot map will display service areas being crowd-sourced, giving commuters the change to choose and contribute to these selected areas. Users can also create a custom route for any areas they feel would benefit from Chariot, and then share their proposal with friends and neighbors who might be taking similar routes. Once enough riders sign up to support and fund a proposed route, as many Chariots as needed will be dispatched to service that area.
Ford’s global data, insights, and analytics team is also supplementing Chariot’s planning. The group helps Chariot identify potential routes using advanced optimization algorithms based on commuter demand and behavior, traffic data, and existing infrastructure.
Chariot is also available in San Francisco, Austin, and Seattle (the latter city currently offers enterprise and charter services). More information about Chariot’s app can be found here.