Ford announced on Friday (Sept. 9) it is acquiring Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowdsourced shuttle service. The car maker also said it is collaborating with Motivate, the bike-sharing company, to expand transportation solutions in city centers. In conjunction with the buy and partnership, the company said it’s creating a new City Solution team to work with cities around the world on 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, in a press release announcing the development. “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.”
According to Ford, currently, half of the world’s population lives in cities, and by 2030, that’s expected to grow to 60 percent. The challenges tied to moving people and goods will only increase, and Ford said it wants to be part of the solution.
“Cities globally are dealing with increased congestion, a growing middle class and environmental issues — all of which can be alleviated by developing mobility solutions fine-tuned to the unique challenges of each location,” said Jim Hackett, chairman of 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 said the purchase of Chariot will serve as the cornerstone of its shuttle services business, which is expected to be expanded beyond San Francisco to five or more markets in the next year-and-a-half. As for its partnership with Motivate, Ford and the startup are working with city officials in the Bay Area to add new stations and increase the number of bikes to 7,000 by the end of 2018.