The city of Ferndale has partnered with Chariot, Ford Mobility’s app-based microtransit shuttle service, to improve mobility issues within the city.
A six- to nine-month pilot program launches on Thursday, Sept. 20.
A sneak peek was held over the weekend of Saturday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 2, connecting users from Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge to the Arts Beats & Eats festival in neighboring downtown Royal Oak.
Chariot is a shuttle service that allows users to tap an app to reserve a seat on the distinctive gray and teal seven-passenger, wheelchair-accessible shuttle, and travel where they need to go. In select U.S. cities, Chariot operates either publicly for commuters, privately for companies to shuttle employees around, or both.Chariot was Ford Mobility's first startup acquisition.
Ferndale’s Chariot service will connect the city’s downtown and Livernois business districts, the neighboring city of Pleasant Ridge, and high-profile events.
The partnership between Ferndale and Chariot is a result of the city's plan to shut down a major parking lot in the city’s downtown. The parking lot on Troy Street will be closed while a multi-level parking deck is built.
While city officials weren’t ready to disclose when construction of the parking deck begins, the Chariot service will launch prior to the closing of the parking lot in order to familiarize riders with the service.
Though the partnership results from a direct need, it’s also part of the city’s larger plans to improve overall mobility conditions.
“It’s another way for people to access downtown during the construction of the parking garage, which is a big priority for us,” says Jordan Twardy, community and economic development director for Ferndale.
“We also want to create a modern mobility ecosystem where we improve connectivity and solve that last mile mobility issue.”
Ford Mobility was founded by Ford Motor Company in 2016. The San Francisco-based startup Chariot was acquired later that year, Ford Mobility’s first acquisition.
Image courtesy of Ford