Ford ends Chariot, the shuttle startup that had bought it two years ago and should be part of the automaker's new efforts to go beyond the traditional business of buying and selling cars.
Chariot will stop serving on shuttle routes in the UK on January 25, the company said Thursday. Other commuter routes in New York and San Francisco will be discontinued by February 1st. The dynamic shuttle service also had a corporate business that included routes with companies and transit companies. These corporate routes in Austin, Chicago, Denver, Detroit and Seattle will expire at the beginning of March.
Chariot would not provide much detail on the reason for the shutdown of the service, except to point out faulty numbers of passengers.
"In today's mobility landscape, the desires and needs of customers and cities are changing rapidly," the company wrote in a post on its website. The company thanked its customers for their support over the last five years.
Reports of weak demand and corporate morale had been in progress for months. A contribution by Streetsblog in August found Chariots shuttles in New York were empty most of the time, according to the company, which was evaluated by transit analyst Eric Goldwyn. This analysis revealed that Chariot's fleet of about 25 vans served around 1
In February, Ali Vahabzadeh, was the CEO and co-founder of Chariot Ride Center left the company. In the meantime, he was replaced by Dan Grossman, who heads up microtransit for Ford Smart Mobility, while the company was looking for a permanent person for Chariot.
Chariot has a total of 625 employees, including drivers; Of these, about 385 are in the Bay Area. An employee of Chariot will receive opportunities in Ford Mobility, a corporate spokesman said.
Chariot started at Y Combinator and had only raised about $ 3 million before Ford acquired it, reportedly for $ 65 million plus earn-outs. It is based on a fleet of transit vans whose routes are aimed at commuters and where routes are offered on the basis of a "crowdsourcing vote".
Chariot was part of a series of acquisitions and investments that Ford had made since the automaker's announcement. This strategy, which has evolved over time, involves improving the connectivity (and related services) in their cars Development of autonomous vehicle technology, using large data from sensors in cars to learn more about how people travel and launch Ford Smart Mobility, a private subsidiary engaged in investing in and expanding transportation services, including car sharing and calling ,