Chariot Expands to Austin

chariot1-100681909-large-idgeShuttle van startup Chariot announced today that it is expanding outside of its home city San Francisco to Austin. And in partnership with Movability Austin, the City of Austin, Capital Metro, and Rocky Mountain Institute, Chariot will also be rolling out an initial service offering starting Monday Oct. 10 in the 6th Street Market District, serving the hundreds of employees at Whole Foods Market and GSD&M. These initial routes will be downtown circulators that pick up employees at the MetroRail Downtown stop and Republic Square for Capital Metro buses. Chariot will bring riders the rest of the way to their offices in the West End, and then back at the end of the day.

“Austin was chosen as Chariot’s first expansion city outside San Francisco because of the culture of innovative, fast-growing companies,” says Movability Austin Board Chair Jim Pledger. “Movability looks forward to presenting Chariot as a new commuting option as we work with our member companies.”

The partnership is a new model Chariot is working on that allows employers to band together and aggregate demand through Chariot’s commuting platform.

As one of the country’s fastest-growing and most vibrant cities in the U.S., Austin faces congestion challenges with the continued growth in the number of people and cars on the road. Working with local transportation leaders and community partners, Chariot recognized that it could provide a unique mobility solution to Austinites, starting with the daily commute.

“We’re proud to establish Austin as our first market outside our home of San Francisco,” says Chariot CEO and Co-Founder Ali Vahabzadeh. “Starting today, users will be able to sign up to bring the first Chariot shuttle routes to their neighborhoods in the coming weeks.”

Here’s how Chariot’s crowdsourcing process works:

  • Chariot offers a fast, reliable and affordable way to get from A to B with shuttle routes that have fixed stops in neighborhoods and transit hubs. The Chariots travel to busy areas where people work, and then bring them back at the end of the day.
  • Chariot decides where to launch these routes based on where people live, and where they need to go. Often, people use Chariots as part of their commute for their last mile of their trips to or from public transit stops.
  • If there’s not already a route serving your area, your sign-up counts as a “vote” to launch one near you. You can increase the votes by sharing with friends, colleagues and neighbors doing a similar commute to “crowdsource” your own route.

“As part of Ford Motor Company’s City Solutions effort, our shared goals are to create a better commute for employees, help solve Austin’s mobility challenges, and develop more efficient, convenient, clean and affordable transit options for the city of Austin,” Vahabzadeh says. “In 2015, Austinites spent an average of 52 hours in traffic. Chariot provides a new option for commuters that saves you time and money, as well as stress, while tackling the congestion problem and increasing use of public transit. We look forward to expanding routes to serve commuters and companies across the city in the coming weeks.”

“Chariot is a completely new and comfortable way for Austinites to commute to work,” says Downtown Austin Alliance Executive VP of Economic Development Molly Alexander. “The Downtown Austin Alliance is confident that our 90,000 downtown employees will find this compelling, and the crowdsourcing model ensures demand.”

Going out with a group with friends or colleagues, and want a designated driver? Beyond the commute, Chariot is also launching its Charters service where you can directly book a comfortable 14-passenger Chariot. Find more info here.

If you can’t wait to try out the service, Chariot will be running special pop-up routes for people going to and from the Austin City Limits festival this weekend.


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