If you thought that only Uber and Lyft offer gig style rideshare rides in the US, then you would be wrong. There are a few small companies as well as a few big ones that compete in niche markets. One such company is Ford.
Back in the old days of 2015, when people only had iPhone 5, and Samsung's hadn't started to explode on flights, Ford introduced the GoRide shuttle option to its employees in Dearborn. Bill Ford, the Executive Chairman of Ford, decided it was time to enter the mobility platform as well as providing the means of mobility to others.
Based on this desire, Ford introduced the Ford Smart Mobility project that would integrate data, ridesharing and alternative modes of mobility including AV in a plan to prepare Ford for the future. What made Ford reach this decision as the success of Uber and Lyft.
Ford has sites all over the world; the infrastructure is already in place, all it needs to do is to learn and adapt. So, they set up a new division to develop a rideshare app and use their Transit vans amass the vehicles. The only difference between Ford and Uber is that Ford will employ the drivers and own the vans, essentially making it an in-house fleet of its employees. However, the employees can use the ride service for any reason, not just riding to and from work.
Today, the company runs a successful shuttle service, that takes customers along the way in a transit van, and picks ups customers on the route.
According to Patrick Elis, Head of smart mobility at Ford, "You're able to go from point to point within a city, but the routes are created on demand as users request rides. Along the way, while you're in the shuttle, if someone requests a ride that's on your way and is able to be fulfilled while still coming out at the time that we've quoted you, you're able to share in that and get a discount on your fare while still getting to your location on time."
Now one of their 25 mobility projects is going to compete directly with Uber and Lyft. GoRide will begin to take customers from their home to their doctor's appointment. This new service will start in the Metro Detroit area and include over 200 Beaumont healthcare facilities.
Ernestine "Tina" Brighton, a GoRide customer, told the media that "The first time I went in a GoRide, it was so clean. You felt really secure. The drivers were excellent – they were very kind to me. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed moving to GoRide."
Marion Harris, Ford Mobility Business Group Vice President, explained why the issue of missed appointments led them to develop their own solution, "There's no excuse for the fact that so many people have trouble simply making it to their medical appointments. By merging our expertise in vehicles, technology, and human-centered design, we've created a high-touch, patient-focused service that truly understands and is tailored to patients and their needs. Our service is focused on multiple social determinants of health and delivers the quality of care and on-time certainty that medical facilities need in order to increase throughput and reduce wait times."
The big difference between GoRide and Uber/Lyft is that Non-emergency medical transportation through GoRide will be performed by trained drivers using specially fitted transit vans. Ford is taking back the roads from private freelance drivers by offering an in house service solution. With its financial backbone and its unlimited fleet of cars, Ford is in a perfect position to introduce a professional rideshare/taxi service that will compete with conventional rideshare in focused niche markets.
is conducted using a fleet of properly-outfitted Ford Transit vans with accommodations for those in wheelchairs and folks who have difficulty walking. When the pilot program launched in late-2017, there were five such vehicles in the fleet; by the end of 2018, Ford hopes to grow that number to 60. Drivers undergo training to instruct them on how to care for and transport patients heading in for non-emergency medical help and can assist patients as they enter and exit the vehicle.