- Ford is launching Chariot, an app that lets you catch rides on shuttle buses via an app, in London.
- On Monday, regulator TfL approved plans to operate three trial routes in the city for up to a year.
- The service already runs in certain US cities, as Ford attempts to diversify into other modes of transportation.
Chariot, a service that lets users catch rides on shuttle buses by using an app, just got approval to launch in London.
On Monday, London transport regulator Transport for London (TfL) approved plans by Ford, which operates Chariot, to launch a trial of its service in the British capital. Chariot will be able to operate its pre-bookable only services in the city for a year on three routes, and nine months on a fourth route.
“This service has the potential to provide useful transport links in the areas they will serve, largely outside central London, and we will carefully monitor this trial,” said a spokesman at regulator Transport for London (TfL).
It’ll cost £2.40 per trip, according to The Guardian — compared to £1.50 for a regular bus trip.
Ford’s mobility service aims to tap into growing demand in cities among those wishing to make trips rather than buy cars. The U.S. carmaker already operates its bus service in U.S. cities such as San Francisco and Seattle, allowing passengers to book seats for journeys generally between transport hubs and to and from park and ride facilities for the last mile of a trip.
The firm’s proposed routes in London include areas south of the River Thames which are not close to underground stations including near the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, according to TfL’s website.
Ford is trying to diversify into other modes of transportation from vehicles sold to consumers as new competitors from Alphabet’s Google to Uber shake up the traditional automotive industry.
Major carmakers are experimenting with mobility services, partnering with existing tech apps or developing their own offerings such as car clubs as they seek to appeal to young urbanites who have increasingly shunned vehicle ownership.
In a statement, Ford said: “Chariot’s commuter ride-share service will complement the existing public transport system by offering in-app ride booking for first- and last-mile commuting solutions, and the potential to reach underserved areas.”