January 11, 2019

Shuttle startup Chariot will shut down less than 3 years after its $65m sale to Ford

Almost 3 years after Ford payed $65m to acquire Chariot, the private bus startup is going out of business.

After Chariot raised $3m in its first 2 years, it was acquired by Ford for a reported $65m in 2016 and added to Ford’s ‘Smart Mobility’ division. 

But, the move wasn’t so smart after all: Chariot just couldn’t keep its momentum up due to low margins and lower demand — and it will begin shutting down operations later this month to cut its losses.

Sometimes you just can’t reinvent the bus

Under Ford, Chariot expanded its ‘private bus lines’ from San Francisco to Austin, Seattle, New York, Columbus, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, LA, and London. 

But Chariot had to subsidized its services to lure people into its vans — and since rides cost as little as $3.80, it had trouble recouping its cash when demand began to slip.

Chariot will leave behind 625 employees, some of whom will be offered new jobs at Ford. As for everyone else? They’re gonna have to take the bus.

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