Ford is looking to start off a ride sharing service in New York City called Chariot. No, it isn’t anything similar to Uber or Lyft but it is rather a crowd-sourced shuttle service. The service aims to start in August and Ford aims to provide new ways for consumers to travel especially in areas where there are little to no transit points (deemed as transit deserts).
Chariot offers users a way to get from point A to B during commuting times and will cover areas where it isn’t feasible for people to walk to the nearest public transportation. Each Chariot can accommodate more than 12 people and the app guarantees seats for each user.
“Our mission at Chariot is to provide reliable, safe and affordable transportation for as many people as possible,” said Chariot CEO Ali Vahabzadeh. “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.”
Other than New York, Chariot is also going to be available in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Each ride is charged at a flat rate of $4. Ford aims to have 60 Chariot vehicles running in New York later this year.
As part of the New York launch, commuters will be able to use a streamlined crowd-sourcing process to make the experience more user-friendly. The Chariot map will display service areas being crowd-sourced – giving commuters the chance to choose and contribute to these potential service areas.
Users can even create a custom route for areas they feel would benefit from Chariot, then share their proposal with friends, family and neighbours who may be taking similar commutes. Once enough riders sign up to support and fund a proposed route, as many Chariots as needed will be dispatched to service the area.
Ford’s own Global Data, Insights and Analytics team is supplementing Chariot’s planning. The group helps Chariot identify potential routes using advanced optimization algorithms based on user demand and behaviour, as well as traffic data and existing infrastructure.
“We know how important it is for everyone to be able to get around effectively – especially in densely populated places like New York,” said Jessica Robinson, director, Ford City Solutions. “Chariot is one way we’re trying to help cities accommodate their residents and ensure people aren’t sacrificing their needs as a result of limited mobility options.”
Think of it as an extended feeder bus service currently service the LRT and MRT routes here in Malaysia. As compared, many people within the Klang Valley live more than a kilometre from a transit point, whether it may be a bus stop or an LRT/MRT stop. Chariot is a service which aims to crowdsource enough information such that they will create a route to help pick people up and bring them to the nearest LRT/MRT or KTM or any other transit point. If the route is along the way of someone’s office, a new stop can be added in based on demand.
In short, Chariot is meant to supplement and cover areas where existing transit points are not available.