If you are an NYC commuter like me, then I'm sure you know how bad the city's transportation has gotten.
Subways are getting derailed or delayed, the traffic is crazy, and don't even get me started about the trains. Even with so many modes of transportation, we still seem to never be able to get anywhere on time or quickly enough. That's why I'm hoping that Ford's app-based bus system 'Chariot' will help when it comes to New York this August.
With a slogan like "your commute, solved", I have high hopes for this micro-transit service. The Chariot has been riding into cities for months now, first being launched in San Francisco in 2014. Recently, it has expanded into cities like Austin and Seattle.
The NYC service will start out with pre-planned service route. One will run from the Lower East Side to Midtown Manhattan while the other will run from Greenpoint to Dumbo in Brooklyn. Users can call the service with an app, adding to the app-based transportation service trend that has been going on for a while now. It will have to compete with other app-based commuter services in NYC, like Via, but the Ford name and strong presence in other cities might give this app the upper hand.
Chariot is also a crowd sourced service, making it even more audience-friendly than some of its competitors. Users can suggest their own routes to contribute to the crowd sourcing in order to determine which routes Ford needs to make Chariot available on. You can also let Chariot know what time you need to arrive by in order to make sure your driver knows how long they have to get you where you need to go. All of these aspects make Chariot extremely accessible and user-friendly, which is a welcome change from the mess of transportation that NYC has seen recently. Chariot CEO Ali Vahabzadeh knows this, as he told Tech Crunch in an interview:
I think the public is going to use Chariot and micro-transit in different ways (in NYC). Using Chariot in Brooklyn when the L-train is shut down, or event-based transit, for example. We can keep these running around the clock, with high-participation occupancy rates, so we're going to learn a whole new set of lessons we can add to our playbook.
Another great thing about the Chariot platform is that Vahabzadeh hopes to make this a ride-sharing service. One that is actually accessible to low-income areas of the city so that it's not just another service for those who can afford to splurge on transportation. He told The Verge that he is working on a few projects to include more customers who don't have credit cards, bank accounts, or smartphones in order to include people who aren't just rich, white, and able-bodied.
Hopefully, this will make commuting much less stressful for all of us here in New York, because I don't think I can handle another day of New York transportation meltdowns. Chariot will be launching 60 vehicles on the New York roads by this fall.