Chariot is coming to New York City. The crowd-sourced shuttle service, which Ford acquired last year, is expanding to the East Coast from its current markets in San Francisco (CA) and Austin (TX).
The first two routes in New York serve the Lower East Side in Manhattan and Greenpoint in Brooklyn and were chosen in consultation with Ford’s data analytics team. “LES and Greenpoint are two very high-growth boroughs that haven’t historically had a lot of public transit alternatives,” Chariot CEO Ali Vahabzadeh told TechCrunch. Other routes will be added in response to rider input.
Like other similar services, Chariot says its goal is to complement public transportation by filling gaps in the existing network. And the company sees lots of opportunity in New York: “I think the public is going to use Chariot and micro-transit in different ways [in NYC],” Vahabzadeh said. “Using Chariot in Brooklyn when the L-train is shut down, or event-based transit, for example. We can keep these running around the clock, with high-participation occupancy rates, so we’re going to learn a whole new set of lessons we can add to our playbook.”.
Although Chariot is working with the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, Vahabzadeh said his approach is to “get the service and the product out there and to prove to all stakeholders involved what Chariot is really capable of.” He added, “We think conversations will develop and evolve after we launch.”
Chariot transports customers in 14-passenger Ford vans, and riders reserve a trip with a smart phone. Passengers board and alight at defined stops. Customers can purchase “Chariot Credits,” which work out to $4 per trip, or a monthly unlimited pass for $119. Link to full story in TechCrunch.
Photo credit: Bailey Roberts for Chariot