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November 08 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel is the Editor at routeONE magazine. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Ford to challenge London bus
routes and Uber with Chariot

Ford has confirmed that it plans to enter London, as the “first international location” for its Chariot ride-sharing service, using Transit vans.

It is currently advertising for a GM for London “to help us revolutionise transit.”

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

It aims to “supplement bus routes and trains with commuter routes that are not as well served by the existing options.”In a statement, Ford says: “We continue to explore additional markets as part of our expansion plans, with London being one of them.

“We have applied for the relevant licences to operate a commuter micro transit service in London that would complement the existing public transport system.

“We are now awaiting a response from TfL regarding our applications for London Service Permits.”

While it is not specifically targeting bus routes, due to the slow nature of many London bus routes that have prompted patronage falls, it is likely that a more agile, bespoke service could nibble away demand.

The 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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