Chariot’s roots may be in easing the grinding urban commute in the San Francisco Bay area, but the crowdsourced commute company is getting a little more recreational with a pilot holiday season project with Tahoe’s Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows ski resort.
Chariot, which is owned by Ford Smart Mobility as of earlier this year, is deploying a free transit service that will operate in the Tahoe ski resort between December 23 and January 4, operating its 14 passenger shuttle vans along pre-set routes that provide 15 to 20 minute rides during two-hour blocks in the morning and evening, and supplemented by “resort-to-doorstep” rides users can book from the Chariot app much like they would an Uber, between 10 AM and 3 PM in addition to those regular rides.
On the resort side, the Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows team are looking at this as a way to supplement existing regional transit, as well as their own private shuttle options, and as a way to hopefully easy parking and road traffic from individual-owned vehicles. They’re sponsoring the program as a short-term exploration of what might be possible in terms of long-term fixes to their transit challenges both within the resort, and in the surrounding areas.
Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth also told TechCrunch that it’s looking to Chariot’s predictive analytics capabilities as something that can help it better negotiate and anticipate transportation demand at the resort that can be “extremely variable throughout the day.” On Chariot’s side, the company is looking for different ways it might be able to address mobility needs in different markets and communities.
“You can expect to see more of these types of launches in the future, as we explore and test different ways of launching Chariot for specific transit use cases in markets across the U.S. and beyond,” Chariot CEO Ali Vahabzadeh told TechCrunch via email, adding that through this pilot, the company “expect[s] to gain a lot of data and insights we can then use to tailor our service offerings in similar environments going forward.”
Chariot is currently operating regular service in SF and Austin, but under Ford it looks ready to expand what kinds of transit needs it will address as it eyes further expansion in the new year.