SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co. announced on Friday plans to purchase the San Francisco shuttle company Chariot -- as part of an overall vision for alternative transportation in the 21st century.
Ford CEO Mark Fields made the announcement at San Francisco city hall on Friday afternoon, and expanded on the automaker's view of a more environmentally-friendly and efficient commuting future.
"By 2030, the world's population will increase by more than 1 billion people -- the majority of whom will live in cities," he said. "At Ford, we pay attention to this. We're thinking about it every day. And we believe it's time for the next chapter in mobility."
One of the American auto industry's biggest innovators for more than a century, Ford shared on Friday its belief that a better future for the company and for customers isn't limited to simply better automobiles.
"We are facing a transportation crisis. It's pretty clear that the transportation systems we developed in the last century are at a breaking point," Fields wrote in a post to Medium. "In San Francisco, in the next minute, 30 percent of the traffic will result from people circling the block looking for parking. Nationally, this hunt for a parking spot will unleash 102 tons of carbon every minute.
"And, unfortunately, the strain on our transportation infrastructure is only going to increase."
Ford Motor Co./Twitter
Ford's chief executive said the automaker's plan is to team up with major cities around the world to relieve congestion through efforts exactly like its acquisition of Chariot, a crowd-sourced shuttle startup.
San Francisco, one of the nation's most congested cities, will be the first -- and Ford said it will spend the next eight years investing in various Bay Area transportation projects.
"Our goal is to drive down the cost of mobility so no one gets left behind," Fields wrote.
Ford plans to expand the new shuttle service to at least five more markets in the next 18 months.
The automaker also said Friday it is partnering with bike-sharing company Motivate as another means of traffic solution. To mark that venture, Ford announced its new GoBike will be introduced in San Francisco to help facilitate biking in the city.
"We have plans to add an additional 7,000 bikes in the Bay Area by 2018, all of which will be accessible through our FordPass platform," Fields said. "Bikes can be a fundamental part of the transportation solution in cities. Plus, they have no emissions, you get a little exercise, and it's a fun way to get around."
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee hailed Ford's partnership with Motivate as a "major expansion" that will "provide affordable, connected and smarter transit."
Financial details of Chariot's purchase were not disclosed.