Ford Makes New Acquisitions to Bolster Its Smart Mobility Program

Posted by at 11:49 am on September 9, 2016


In an effort to expand its “mobility services,” Ford Motor Co. has acquired the San Francisco-based shuttle service Chariot and partnered with bike-share company Motivate, the company said Friday.

The deal was made under the recently formed Ford Smart Mobility Program, led by former Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett. Ford is not disclosing the price of the acquisition, a company spokeswoman said.

“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,” Hackett said in a statement.

Chariot, founded in 2014, provides shuttle transportation in the Bay Area using routes based on customer demand. The company’s stated mission is to provide affordable mass transit and it competes with services such as UberPOOL and LyftLine, which have been operating in the San Francisco area since 2014 and have expanded to more than 15 cities in the U.S.

Chariot currently operates about 100 Ford Transit vans on 28 routes, according to Ford, and is expected to expand to five new markets in the next 18 months.

Under its partnership with Motivate, which operates the CitiBike service in New York City, Ford plans to increase the number of bike-share bikes in the San Francisco area to 7,000 from 700 by the end of 2018. Bikes will be available through the FordPass smartphone app, which launched in January as a resource to help drivers find parking and check transportation options for specific routes.

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