Chariot, the commuter shuttle provider owned by Ford, has received a private transit program permit to operate more safely and ideally have less of an impact on public transit in San Francisco.
As part of the program, Chariot cannot make stops in crosswalks, traffic lanes and Muni stops. Instead, Chariot must load and unload passengers in legal curb spaces, which includes white passenger loading zones and yellow commercial loading zones.
To be clear, this program is different from the SFMTA’s agreement with companies pertaining to employer-provided shuttles. In the program with corporate shuttles, companies pay to use Muni bus zones.
Chariot must ensure new routes complement, rather than replicate pre-existing Muni routes, as well as provide San Francisco with GPS and ridership data in order to enable the city to better understand the company’s impact.
Chariot is the only private transit provider that applied for and received a permit. What prompted the permitting program were complaints from the public pertaining to stopping in unsafe locations, traveling on restricted streets and a lack of accessibility for people with disabilities.
While the SFMTA was reviewing Chariot’s application, the two worked together to move more than 100 of Chariot’s stops from illegal locations to safer loading places. As part of a condition of the permit, Chariot must identify safe and legal alternatives for the remaining nine percent of the company’s roughly 204 locations by the end of August.
Back in October, Chariot was forced to temporarily halt rides in San Francisco after the company failed to pass an inspection by the California Public Utilities Commission.
I’ve reached out to Chariot and the SFMTA. I’ll update this story if I hear more.