(Daniel Kim/2017 Special to S.F. Examiner)

Out of Business: Private bus company Chariot to cease operations by March

Private bus company Chariot will cease all operations by March, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

A company-wide email sent Thursday morning announced the company was shutting down, which a Chariot spokesperson subsequently confirmed.

“Chariot will be winding down operations,” said Erin First, a spokesperson with Chariot.

“As you know, the mobility landscape is rapidly changing, we’ve made the tough decision that Chariot is not going to be a sustainable business moving forward,” she added.

The company debuted in San Francisco as a private competitor to The City’s public transit system, Muni, in 2014, and was acquired by Ford Motor Company in late 2016.

It will cease operating its public available bus lines by Feb. 1, the company confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner.

The company also provides shuttle services for private businesses, a part of the business that will cease operations by March.

SEE RELATED: New rules to ban jitneys from competing with Muni

Chariot employs some 385 people in its San Francisco operations, and a total of 625 employees throughout the United States. The company has operations in Austin, Seattle, New York and Los Angeles, among other cities.

Roughly 300 of its employees are represented by the Teamsters Union. Doug Bloch, political director of Teamsters Joint Council 7, which represents 100,000 members across Northern California, the Central Valley and northern Nevada, said they will “work very hard” to find new jobs for Chariot drivers.

Those drivers have Class B licenses to drive buses, which are in high demand among shuttle operators for tech companies, school bus operators, and even Muni operators, Bloch said.

“People with commercial drivers licenses are in high demand right now,” he said.

Chariot offered rides in small buses the size of vans to the public, in a system similar to Uber where riders can request stops using a mobile phone app. The company mostly mirrored Muni’s most popular bus routes, ferrying riders from the Marina to the Financial District, and other neighborhoods throughout The City.

In early 2018 the company came into conflict with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which rebuffed Chariot for replicating Muni lines.

The agency’s Board of Directors passed new transportation rules prohibiting Chariot from replicating Muni lines in the future but grandfathered in its previously created routes.

Ed Reiskin, director of SFMTA, said it wasn’t a surprise that Chariot faced challenges.

“We know from our experience and needing to serve all the people of San Francisco that transit requires a subsidy,” Reiskin told the Examiner, Thursday. “The idea that mass transit can be offered under a private for-profit model I think is a questionable proposition.”

Notably, Muni has experienced an operator shortage of late. Reiskin said he “looks forward” to hearing from representatives of Chariot’s drivers. Transit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Police release an image a cracked windshield on a Prius that Cesar Vargas allegedly tried to carjack. Vargas, who was shot by police a short time later, can be seen in videos jumping on the windshield and pushing a Muni passenger who disembarked from a bus. (Courtesy SFPD
SFPD releases videos of deadly police shooting

Cesar Vargas killed after reports of carjacking with knife

Organizers of the San Francisco International Arts Festival had planned to use parts of Fort Mason including the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery to host performances by about a dozen Bay Area arts groups. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Arts festival sues city over permit denial

Organizer says outdoor performances should be treated like demonstrations, religious gatherings

New legislation would make sure supportive housing tenants don’t pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner))
Supportive housing tenants could get more help paying the rent

Supportive housing tenants struggling to pay rent could soon see their payments… Continue reading

An oversight body for San Francisco’s mental health programs may be restructured after questions were raised about its management and lack of effectiveness. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Behavioral health oversight body looks for new start — and staff — after mismanagement

Members of an oversight body for San Francisco’s behavioral health programs said… Continue reading

The City requires the recycling or reuse of debris material removed from a construction project site. <ins>(Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris to achieve zero-waste

San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and… Continue reading

Most Read