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Ford to buy San Francisco-based shuttle service 'Chariot'

Ford motors Co wants to move beyond car manufacturing and become a mobility company. Photograph: (Getty)

WION San Francisco, CA, United States Sep 10, 2016, 06.24 AM (IST)
Ford Motors Co is planning to acquire San francisco-based shuttle service Chariot to help solve congestion issues and help people move more easily.

The automaker wants to move beyond car manufacturing and become a mobility company.

Ford president and CEO, Mark Fields said: "We’re expanding our business to be both an auto and a mobility company, and partnering with cities on current and future transportation needs is the next major step."

Chariot is considering to expand internationally and in the next 18 months, it will move into five more markets said Ford Motors. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

It will set up a " city solution" team to work with cities across the world on transportation, Reuters reported.

"City's 'transportation ecosystem' have evolved differently over time and pose unique challenges. Ford City Solutions will team up with municipalities to "propose, pilot and develop mobility solutions tailored to the community," an official statement by Ford said. 

Ford Smart Mobility LLC, Ford's subsidiary company's chairman, Jim Hackett said: "Cities globally are dealing with increased congestion, a growing middle class and environmental issues – all of which can be alleviated by developing mobility solutions fine-tuned to the unique challenges of each location."

In partnership with Motivate, the global leader in bike share, Ford is planning to launch "Ford GoBike" a bike-sharing programme next year. The plan is to add new stations and 7,000 bikes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area by late 2018.

in 2013, Motivate launched an urban bike system called the Bay Area Bike Share.

At the moment, Chariot is operating 100 Ford Transit shuttles, along 28 routes in the Bay Area.

The routes are crowd-sourced, depending on customer demand.

Pilot shuttle programs have already been started in Kansas City, Missouri, and Dearborn, Michigan.

Other automakers which use this service include General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen and BMW.

(WION inputs from Reuters)

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