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From the Verge:


Ford … is acquiring Chariot, a private, crowdsourced shuttle service based in San Francisco, and is investing in Motivate, the largest operators of bike-share programs in the US. It also announced plans to set up a new division within the company tasked with advising cities directly about “mobility solutions,” CEO Mark Fields told The Verge Friday.

It’s another sign that Ford, one of the oldest and most storied car makers in the world, is aware of that the writing on the wall is not favorable to car companies. Consumers are trending away from personal car ownership, and toward ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, which have both been recently emphasizing carpooling as the next big idea in transportation. …

Chariot, which has been operating in San Francisco since 2014, is part of a recent trend of bus startups that use algorithms to develop transit routes based on user demand. Using the app, customers can book a seat in one of the companies blue-and-white shuttle vans for around $4 a trip. …

This isn’t Ford’s first flirtation with quasi-public bus services. Last February, the company teamed up with Bridj, a data-driven pop-up bus company, and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to roll out a fleet of shuttle vans that residents can summon with the tap of an app. Ford has also unveiled several “smartbike” prototypes in recent years that it envisions as part of a broader mobility system that integrates cars, bikes, and various other forms of transportation into a seamless, networked whole.