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  • Chariot, a private bus startup, is going to close soon.
  • San Francisco based private bus startup
  • Ford motors acquired Chariot in 2016
  • more than 730,000 riders a day
  • 3 million rides over the past five years

chariot shutting down
Chariot private bus startup

Chariot private bus startup is based on San Francisco. Ford motor company acquired Chariot in 2016. On Thursday, Chief Executive Officer Dan Grossman announced Chariot will cease all operations by the end of the March. After “significant consideration,” he has taken the decision to close. It appears the company’s business model wasn’t a success.

It has become clear — through many indicators such as ridership — that the mobility services delivered by Chariot over the past five years will not be a sustainable solution going forward,


a Chariot spokeswoman said in an email.

Chariot’s aim was to provide an alternative to public transportation for a slightly higher fee — usually between $1. 50 to $3 more per ride. The service launched in San Francisco in April 2014 and has since spread to nine other US cities and to London. Ford acquired Chariot for $65 million in September 2016.

Chariot private bus startup

The company focused on shuttling commuters from outer neighborhoods to downtown areas and also financial districts using midsized vans. Grossman said Chariot provided more than 3 million rides over the past five years. Some urban planners have criticized the company for catering to affluent clientele as well as unfairly competing with cities’ public transit systems.

chariot is shutting down
Ford chariot private bus transport

The startup tussled with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency last year for running routes along city bus lines, according to the San Francisco Examiner. This caused the city agency to establish new regulations that barred Chariot from creating any more routes that mirrored public transit lines.

“We are going to continue to do our work to provide and improve Muni [public transit] service for more than 730,000 riders a day across the city,” SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said of Chariot’s closure. “We will continue working to ensure that our service is easy, convenient and affordable for all San Franciscans across the city.”

Chariot isn’t the only private shuttle startup to end operations. Competitor Leap, which launched a luxury bus service (complete with Blue Bottle coffee and cold-pressed juices) in San Francisco in 2014, also closed. Leap was forced to shut down in 2015 after not securing proper operating permits from the state of California.

Grossman said Chariot private bus startup will halt all of its bus routes in the UK on Jan. 25, followed by a US shutdown of service on Feb. 1. All other operations at the company will terminate by the end of March.

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Samba Shiva Thadavarthi
Mr. Shiva is a technologist by profession and technical writer by passion. He has served in several organisations as Research and Development manager and wrote versatile articles on the current trends of technological transformation.

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