Chariot, an app that connects users and shuttle buses, will shutter in March, the San Francisco Examiner reported. The app was launched in 2014, then acquired by Ford Motor Company two years later in a cash deal totalling more than $65 million.
A Chariot spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the app will close in March.
January 25 is the last day Chariot will operate commuter routes in the UK. February 1 is the last day for US commuter operations. Other private and enterprise routes will cease in March.
“Following significant consideration, we have decided to close the Chariot operation,” Dan Grossman, CEO of Chariot, said in a statement shared with Business Insider.
Chariot staffers may be able to continue working for Ford. “We’re looking to redeploy as many employees as we can,” a Ford spokesperson told Business Insider.
However, an employee told Crunchbase that Chariot workers were informed today that their positions were terminated. Some workers will receive 60 days worth of salary in a severance package. More than 600 employees work for Chariot nationwide.
Based in San Francisco, Chariot presently operates in 10 cities providing a service that’s like Uber for busses. Nine of those cities are in the US, and Chariot expanded to London in 2018. It also develops enterprise routes for universities and businesses.
“Chariot was built on a commitment to help reduce congestion, ease the commute and improve quality of life in cities, and since our start, we have provided our customers with more than 3 million rides,” Grossman wrote in the statement.
Chariot was the first acquisition made by Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s future-of-transportation unit. After the startup raised $3 million in an investment round in 2015, Ford acquired the company in 2016 for $65 million.
“(W)e helped Ford build their mobility business, and their experience with Chariot continues to inform their mobility efforts and design decisions for the future,” Grossman wrote.
The closure of Chariot is an about-face for automotive companies who have recently been investing hundreds of millions into mobility startups or developing their own mobility services.
General Motors, for instance, allows users to drive GM cars through its car-sharing app Maven; it also invested $500 million in Lyft in 2016. BMW launched its own ride-hailing service, Ride, last summer, and Toyota invested $500 million in Uber last year.