On-demand, app-based shuttle Chariot aiming to alleviate MTA woes

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NEW YORK — As the mayor, governor and MTA continue to trade barbs over the city’s ongoing woes with mass transit, the answer to the non-stop train trouble may lie in a simple swipe and click on your smartphone.

It’s called Chariot — an app based, ride sharing, on-demand shuttle service launched by Ford that aims to fill the gap between taxi and bus service, helping commuters get from point A to point B — drama free.

“Chariot is leading what we call a mirco-transit revolution in getting people to work in a fast, reliable and very accessible manner,” Chariot founder and CEO Ali Vahabzadeh told PIX11.

It’s pretty simple to use. After downloading the Chariot app, planned routes for pick ups and drop offs will be determined through the power of crowd sourcing.

If enough commuters request a specific route from the same neighborhood, it becomes part of the shuttle’s daily itinerary.

Furthermore, Chariot is expected to be two times faster than a public bus.

“We can actually fulfill someone’s entire commute or we can actually act like a feeder system fulfilling first and last mile commutes to a train station, a bus terminal or a ferry landing,” Vahabzadeh explained.

Unlike public transit, every rider is guaranteed a seat on Chariot.

Each shuttle is equipped with air conditioning, space for luggage and free WiFi.

The app is already a success in San Francisco, Seattle and Austin.

“In San Francisco, we have 200 vehicles running every day – moving people back and fourth to work,” Ford’s Director of City Solutions Jessica Robinson said. “In Austin, we are already up to 60 and we are really confident we’ll get up to 60 vehicles in [New York City] this fall.”

Hitching a ride on Chariot will cost just $4 a ride and will also be integrated with commuter benefit programs, allowing riders to pay with pre-tax dollars saving up to 40 percent on their commute.

The Chariot app launches in New York in August with routes planned in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The app is currently available for download and already crowdsourcing for new routes.

To learn more about Chariot or to sign up, visit their website: https://www.chariot.com/download

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