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Distinctive Systems
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November 22 2017
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Six London routes planned by Chariot

Ford’s plans to enter London, as its “first international location” for its Chariot ride-sharing service, using Transit vans have moved on.

Details of Chariot Transit UK’s application for permits to operate six routes have been published by Transport for London (TfL).

Each route has been given an alliterative name: Battersea Bullet, Nuxley Navigator, Riverside Racer, Shooters Hill Shot, Southwark Shortcut and Wandsworth Wanderer, rather than route numbers.

All are described as ‘commuter services’ and connect railway or tube stations, such as Battersea Park-Kennington station, Carlton Road-Erith-Abbey Wood station, Fulham Riverside-Holland park station, Shooters Hill Shot-North Greenwich station, St Georges-Bermondsey station and Wandsworth Riverside-Clapham Junction station.

All are planned to start on 29 January 2018, subject to consultation.

At the same time, Chariot is recruiting a GM for London. The UK company’s current directors are all US citizens.

The car marker bought the start-up in September 2016 and it operates in US cities including San Francisco (bay area), Seattle, Austin (Texas), and New York, using 15-seater Transits.

Ford says: “We have applied for licences to operate a commuter micro-transit service in London that will complement the existing public transport system.

The US operation uses 14-seater Transit minibuses and offers and all-inclusive flat rate fare, with unlimited stops and mileage. It is not yet known what the UK operation will offer.

Ford’s move follows an application to TfL for a licence to operate an on-demand shuttle service using Via’s carpooling technology, using Mercedes-Benz vans. Via is backed by Daimler, in a bid to move it from being a carmaker to a ‘mobility as a service’ (MaaS) business.

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