Ford Mobility buys shuttle service Chariot,  launches bike-sharing program

If you live in San Francisco, you’ve certainly seen them zipping around downtown: Chariot shuttles carting people to and from work.

These not-buses, which offer on-demand and point-to-point crowd-sourced transportation, have become a bit of a staple as downtown traffic has gotten worse and as people desperately search for a better way to get to their jobs.

Today, as part of its burgeoning mobility efforts, Ford announced it has acquired Chariot and plans to make the service the heart of its “new global shuttle services business.” The plan is to expand beyond San Francisco, into at least five other cities within 18 months.

Ford also said it is launching a bike-sharing program in the San Francisco area and, along with partner Motivate, will be offering as many as 7,000 bikes by the end of 2018. Cyclists will be able to use the bikes via the FordPass program.

These initiatives, along with new efforts to expand mobility options in cities around the globe, are tied to Ford’s larger plans to transform its business. The automaker recently committed to launching an autonomous vehicle fleet within five years and expanded the size of its Silicon Valley innovation center.DT