Ford is shutting down its e-shuttle service as the US motoring giant begins a shake-up of its business in an attempt to cut costs.
Chariot, a commuter shuttle startup acquired by Ford in 2016 for $65m (£51m), has been available in London as well as 10 US cities, but will see UK operations cease on January 25. All operations of the service will come to an end in March.
The San Francisco-headquartered company, which was founded in 2014, emerged as a player in the increasingly expanding tech-transport sector led by Uber.
It offers a microtransit service through an app that allows users to book a seat in one of Chariot’s turquoise and white transit vans for a cheaper trip during rush hour. The company also operates an enterprise service tailored to business clients.
Chariot has carried out just over 3 million rides since its inception but has said that going forward its service “was not sustainable”.
In 2015, Ford launched its “Ford Smart Mobility” unit to invest in “innovative mobility startups and technologies”, and made Chariot its first acquisition. Ford claims the deal made Chariot a “cornerstone of the company’s mobility strategy”.
In a blog post on the startup’s website, Chariot’s chief executive Dan Grossman expressed gratitude to commuters and partners.
“In today’s mobility landscape, the wants and needs of customers and cities are changing rapidly. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause Chariot’s riders and our enterprise customers,” he said.
“We are committed to ensuring our customers are aware of the decision and have time to make alternative transportation arrangements.”