Ford, one of the world’s largest automaker, is expanding Chariot to New York city in a bid to achieve its goal of supplement existing transit solutions, addressing gaps in transit and completing commuter options with first- and last-mile additions, or with routes for underserved areas. The crowd-sourced shuttle service was acquired by Ford during September’16. Chariot CEO Ali Vahabzadeh commented that “This is a pretty opportune time for Chariot to introduce its reliable and accessible services in New York. Chariot’s goal is to supplement existing options with flexible, fluid routes that respond quickly to rider needs, servicing areas with shuttle vans that hold over a dozen passengers. Theoretically, the flexibility of its model allows it to help compensate for prolonged service outages on regular public transit lines”.
Jessica Robinson, Director of City Solutions at Ford, also shared her views stating that “It’s a natural extension of what we’ve always been out to do. I think the shift that we’re making as the world changes is the understanding of what we can do in that space. We think that with our history as a technology integrator, and with our special place in cities, we have a key role to play there”. Chariot plans to have 60 vehicles on the road by this fall in New York City, and it’s currently operating over 200 in San Francisco, and around 50 in Austin. The company still employs less than 100 non-driver staff, which is impressive given the size of its operation, but it may shift up as its New York presence grows.