Ford Motor Co. is launching its crowd-sourced shuttle service Chariot in New York City in August, aiming to provide new mobility solutions to consumers.
Chariot offers commuters, some of whom live in transit deserts — areas that are not within walking distance of public transportation — a new way of getting from point A to point B, according to the company. During typical commuting times, Chariot shuttles will travel to busy areas where people work, then bring them back at the end of the day. Each shuttle accommodates more than a dozen people and guarantees seats for every rider.
New York is the latest market to get Chariot’s service, which is launching with two pre-planned service areas in Manhattan and Brooklyn, at a flat rate of $4 per ride. People can create additional service areas through crowd-sourcing. By this fall, Chariot plans to have 60 vehicles operating in New York City.
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 neighbors 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 commuter demand and behavior, as well as traffic data and existing infrastructure.
To use Chariot, riders simply check the app to find commuter routes near them, then reserve a guaranteed seat as they head toward their assigned vehicle. Keeping the service affordable is a priority, and solutions such as WageWorks and commuter checks — which allow people to use pretax wages to pay for commuting costs — are fully compatible with Chariot use, the company says.
In addition to commuter service, Chariot is launching enterprise and charter services in New York City. Enterprise is available for companies that would like to provide shared commutes for their employees, while charters allow users to directly book a private 14-passenger Chariot for day trips or events.