Ford has launched a new, free-to-use ride sharing pilot program in its home city of Detroit that is helping low income residents get where they need to be.
As The Detroit Free Press reports, Ford’s pilot ride sharing program uses a small fleet of Ford Transit vans to take residents to and from two local food banks run out of Detroit community centers. The pilot program was launched in November and runs in parallel to the Ford GoRide pilot program, which uses the same vans to take low income residents to their doctors appointments.
“We started with the mission that mobility should be accessible to everyone,” Roshni Shokar, Ford Go Ride’s marketing manager, told The Free Press in an interview. “We noticed in the healthcare space, predominately seniors and those using wheelchairs were lacking options.”
According to The Free Press, Ford has given rides to over 100 people since the pilot program began last month. It is scheduled to end in January, but Ford is looking at continuing it. While the automaker was happy to run the free ride sharing operation as a public service, it’s still looking for ways to monetize it. Ford wants to eventually expand GoRide to more cities, possibly by as early as next year, and could one day take it nationwide.
Ford GoRide is an attempt by Ford to address the issue of income inequality and transportation. Some studies indicate access to on time, affordable transit can open new economic opportunities for those living in low income areas. The automaker is also looking to diversify its business and enter the mobility space, investing in autonomous cars, new self-driving car tech and even mobility companies, like the scooter sharing company Spin.
Projects like GoRide and Spin are exactly the kinds of operations that employees working out of Ford’s new innovation hub in downtown Detroit will be working on. The new campus will be based out of the old Michigan Central Station, located just a short drive from the city’s core.
(source: The Detroit Free Press)