Ride-sharing minibus comes to London06 February 2018

A private commuter shuttle bus service that is booked through a smartphone app, Chariot, has launched in London.

Up to six shuttles per hour will run at peak times, with 14 minibuses. The 14-seater passenger shuttles will be able to use London’s bus lanes, offer Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and overhead storage for laptop bags and briefcases. Selected shuttles will be wheelchair accessible at launch.

“As well-served as London is by public transport, the daily commute can still be a bit of a slog for some in the city. Chariot is one way of providing residents with reliable, safe and affordable transportation,” said Sarah‑Jayne Williams, director, Ford Smart Mobility, Europe.

Four London routes, informed by a detailed analysis of urban areas, are designed to connect commuters living in densely populated areas to existing transport networks. The routes will help fill transportation gaps between several rapidly growing neighborhoods and six London transport hubs: Clapham Junction, North Greenwich, Abbey Wood, Kennington, Vauxhall, and Battersea Park.

Chariot is accessed via a smartphone app that enables users to search for a nearby route and the closest available transport hub address. The app – offering dedicated customer support – will then locate the nearest convenient pickup point. Passengers can book a seat and track in real time the progress of shuttles that run Monday to Friday, during the rush hour. Single pay-as-you-go rides are £2.40; with a monthly pass, single journeys cost from £1.60.

London is the sixth city to be served by Chariot, and the first in Europe. It also operates in five large cities in the USA: San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Columbus and Austin.

“Cities globally are dealing with increased congestion and environmental issues,” said Marcy Klevorn, president, Ford Mobility. “Ford is helping to alleviate these challenges by developing mobility solutions – such as Chariot – that are finely tuned to the unique challenges of commuters in different locations, addressing gaps in transport systems and completing their travel with first- and last-mile additions.”

Last year, Citymapper launched a new bus route in central London based on TfL passenger data; since then it launched a commercial weekend night bus, CM2, in East London, with Tower Transit.

Will Dalrymple

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