The future of Chariot’s service is up to you!

Chariot has revolutionized how commuters get from home to work in the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, Texas. Thousands of riders are now getting to work affordably and quickly, and reserving their seats in advance with Chariot’s iOS, Android or web apps.

If you’re ready to transform your own commute but don’t live near Chariot’s existing service areas, you can now bring Chariot to your neighborhood!

Chariot first expanded within San Francisco by customers choosing which neighborhoods would get Chariot service. Now, it’s become even easier to propose a new service area that Chariot should cover.

Using our new crowdfunding tool, people living in Chariot’s regions (currently, San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Austin, Texas) can suggest a new commute Chariot should serve. Once you’ve published your proposal, we’ll need 49 supporters to promise to pay for a week of (discounted) rides and we’ll launch! The cost of a discounted week will depend on the distance of the proposal, but creators will get a free month of rides if their proposal launches. 

Creators only have 30 days to get 49 supporters to back a proposal, so after you launch your proposed Chariot service, be sure to get the message out to your friends, neighbors and coworkers. You can share the link to your proposal with them, or use the built-in share features to send it to them via Facebook, Nextdoor, email, Slack or Twitter.

A better commute for you — and your neighbors — is in your hands. Head over to the Chariot Routes page to launch your proposal, or browse current proposals.

Note: Proposed commutes are not guaranteed and subject to Chariot approval and compliance with applicable legal requirements, as well as Terms & Conditions.

Your Free Ride to the Slopes

Never drag your skis across the parking lot again. Chariot is offering free rides to Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley from December 23rd-January 4th. Chariots will pick up passengers every 15-20 minutes from 8-10am and 3-5pm on the fixed routes (see below).

From 10am-3pm, Chariot will provide custom resort-to-doorstep rides within Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows neighborhoods. See routes below or visit our routes page for additional information.

Squaw Valley Routes:


Alpine Meadows Routes:


See you on the mountain.


Chariot Expands to Austin

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Chariot’s second city: Austin, Texas!

As one of the country’s fastest-growing and most vibrant cities, Austin faces congestion challenges with the continued growth of its population and cars on the road. Working with local transportation leaders and community partners, together we recognized that Chariot can provide a unique mobility solution to Austinites, starting with the daily commute.

We’re proud to establish Austin as our first market outside our home of San Francisco. Starting today, users will be able to sign up to bring the first Chariot shuttle routes to their neighborhoods in the coming weeks. Here’s how Chariot’s crowdsourcing works:

  • Chariot offers fast, reliable and affordable shuttle routes with fixed stops in neighborhoods and transit hubs.
  • Routes are launched based on where people commute from, and where they need to go. Often, people use Chariots as part of their commute for their last mile of their trips to or from public transit stops.
  • If there’s not already a route serving your area, your sign-up counts as a “vote” to launch one in your neighborhood. You can increase the votes by sharing with friends, colleagues and neighbors doing a similar commute to “crowdsource” your own route.

In partnership with the City of Austin, Rocky Mountain Institute, Movability Austin and CapMetro, we’re proud to announce that Chariot will also roll out an initial service offering starting Monday in the 6th Street Market District serving the hundreds of employees at Whole Foods Market and GSD&M. These initial routes will be downtown circulators that pick up employees at the MetroRail Downtown stop and Republic Square for CapMetro buses. Chariot will bring riders the rest of the way to their offices in the West End, and then back at the end of the day. This partnership is a new model we’re working on that demonstrates how employers can band together and aggregate demand through Chariot’s commuting solutions.

“This is exactly the kind of tech-enabled transportation option that’s going to give Austinites more ways to get around town in a way that will address traffic congestion,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Hats off to Whole Foods and GSD&M for supporting for their employees, and a big Austin welcome to Chariot. By helping people get to work, they are helping Austin move in the right direction.”

As part of Ford Motor Company’s City Solutions effort, our shared goals are to create a better commute for employees, help solve Austin’s mobility challenges, and develop more efficient, convenient, clean and affordable transit options for the city of Austin.

Going out with a group with friends or colleagues, and want a designated driver? Beyond the commute, we’re also launching its Chariot Charters service where you can directly book a comfortable 14-passenger chariot and ride in style. Find more info here.

To debut the service, we’ll be running special pop-up routes for people going to and from the Austin City Limits festival this weekend. Open the app on Friday after 2:30pm, or Saturday and Sunday mornings anytime after 10:30am, to sign up for Chariot and grab a complimentary seat. (Demand will be high and seating will be limited, so we recommend you book your seats early!)

We thank our partners in Austin for the warm welcome, and look forward to meeting you on your next ride!

Ali Vahabzadeh

Chariot CEO & co-founder

Chariot Joins Ford Smart Mobility

A little over two years ago, we started Chariot here in San Francisco. Our service on day one consisted of paper punch card passes, a few 15-seater Ford Econoline vans, and the idea that we could solve the commute by creating a new form of transit that was fast, reliable and affordable.

Since then, we’ve grown to 100 Chariots that provide thousands of rides each day, and have built an experience and technology that’s reinvented how people get around the city. Today, we’re excited to share that we’ve joined Ford Smart Mobility as their first acquisition, which will allow us to expand our service offerings, build out our dynamic routing technology, and bring this new form of transit to cities across the world. We couldn’t be more excited to leverage Ford’s leadership in transportation to fulfill our goals worldwide, and look forward to sharing this journey with our amazing community of drivers and riders. You can learn more about Ford Smart Mobility and our plans for moving people in cities together here.  

What does this mean for you? The Chariot you know and love will continue to operate without interruption, and our chariots (which are Ford Transit vans, a happy coincidence) will still look the same. Our friendly Chariot drivers, many of whom have been with us since the early days, will remain employees of the company. We will have exciting changes ahead, including continued expansion of the service in the Bay Area, and your friends in other cities will be able to try Chariot even sooner. We’ll be starting service in our next market in the coming weeks!

Thank you for your ridership and support, and we can’t wait to start this next chapter. We’ll also be ramping up our hiring: if you’re passionate about what we’re doing, we’d love to meet you.


Co-founder & CEO

Introducing Chariot Direct

Today, we’re excited to introduce Chariot Direct, our new product designed for people who commute daily to parts of the city outside of the downtown area.

How is this different from regular Chariot? The service you know is a fixed route with fixed pick-ups and drop-offs, similar to a bus route going from ‘A to B’ to bring people from neighborhoods throughout the city to downtown, like Pac Heights to Caltrain. Chariot Direct will go from ‘B to A,’ bringing people from a range of downtown stops to areas across the city, going the reverse direction of the existing daily Chariot commute routes.

There’s one more key difference: rather than having fixed drop-off points, Chariot Direct uses customer data in real-time to pick the most convenient stops along the general route based on where people need to go. No need to do anything different to take advantage of the new feature–simply enter your destination address, and Direct will drop you off at a white or yellow curb zone within walking distance to your destination.

To try it out, just download the app, enter your home and work addresses, and book a Chariot.

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 12.24.49 PM

Download the app!

We heard from students, school teachers, office and retail workers who wanted to use Chariot but work in hard-to-reach neighborhoods like the JCC in Presidio Heights, USF in NoPa, or schools in Pac Heights and the Marina. By providing them a last mile solution from transit hubs like BART, Caltrain, Transbay and the ferry terminals, Chariot is now the most reliable, cost-effective way for people headed to work all over San Francisco.

Please send us your feedback to @rideChariot or via the Support section in the mobile app and let us know how we can continue to be the solution for you. See you on the road!

Albert Cheng – Head of Product, Chariot

The Chariot Story

The question I get most often is, “How did you decide to start Chariot?”  It’s actually a pretty simple answer: When I moved to San Francisco from New York in 2010, I needed to quickly find an apartment. I found a sublet in the Marina neighborhood and moved in on the spot. What I didn’t realize was that my commute from the Marina to my office in SoMa would soon become a nightmare.

Never having owned a car, my only options were two bus lines: one that was consistently packed and another that took almost an hour to transit 3.5 miles. I started taking taxis to work–before Uber or Lyft became ubiquitous–but quickly realized that my budget couldn’t handle the twice-daily expense. Needless to say, I didn’t renew my lease and moved to the Mission neighborhood where I was able to ride my bike to work every day.

Three years later, I started wondering if things ever got better in my old stomping grounds. I went back to the Marina one morning and not only had the commute not gotten better, it actually became worse: Muni riders were getting passed up not once, but several times in a row by buses that wouldn’t stop because they were full. I kept seeing commuters walking west on Chestnut Street in the hopes they could get on the bus earlier in the route.

I saw one particularly distraught would-be bus rider (let’s call her Veronica) and asked why she didn’t take Uber or Lyft to save time. She already had the Uber app open on her phone, and without saying a word showed me the 2.5x surge premium she would have to pay. She estimated that would be $25 just to get to work.  I spent some time talking to Veronica and others on the street and learned that this was their daily experience. That night, I went downtown to see if things were better for commuters on the way home. They weren’t. In fact, express buses ended at 6:15PM, again leaving commuters only expensive alternatives.

That was February 2014. Eight weeks later, I had designed our first route, hired several drivers, rented four vans, procured commercial-grade insurance, acquired a gasoline line of credit, found a parking lot, threw up a single-page website, recruited some young and hungry “ride managers” to sell tickets and answer questions about the service on the street, and launched the first version of Chariot. On April 22, 2014, we launched the Chestnut Bullet, using 15-passenger vans to take people between the Marina and FiDi, arriving every 9 minutes, and proving we could accomplish a 20-minute commute with ⅔ less stops in half the time as the comparable bus line. Chariot ride managers used Square devices on their iPhones to sell single rides, 12-ride packs, and monthly passes. I was alternating between driving one of the Chariots, helping to recruit more passengers, and learning what we could be doing better from our early adopters.

Then June 2, 2014, happened. I woke up at 5am to my phone blowing up with text alerts from SFMTA, warning riders that Muni drivers were calling in sick that morning and to expect massive delays citywide. My old route in the Marina wasn’t immune, and that day Chariot grew 300% by convincing previously reluctant commuters that we were going to get them to work and home on time, for less than $4 a ride. We never looked back.

Fast forward 18 months, and we’ve crowdsourced eight routes in San Francisco, providing over 11,000 rides a week at an average of $3.50 per ride. Our typical route is twice as fast as the bus and a fraction of the cost of ridesharing; we’re even ⅓ the cost of the new Pool and Line options when you factor that our customers can use their pre-tax commuter benefits on Chariot. It’s especially gratifying to see that Chariot is being used 20% of the time to perform a first or last mile commute: 1 in 5 riders use us to get to/from a BART or Caltrain station.

The future for Chariot is an exciting one. More future riders are crowdfunding new routes in the city, and we’re now inviting companies to anchor longer routes that will take us outside San Francisco. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I can’t wait for you to see what more we have in store.

Welcome to the New Chariot Blog

Since launching in April 2014, Chariot has crowdsourced 8 routes, bringing commuters from across San Francisco to their workplaces in the Financial District, SoMa, and Fisherman’s Wharf, as well as making connections to BART and Caltrain.  It’s been a crazy 18 months, but we’re just getting started.

Our next step is connecting with you, our loyal riders. Today marks the launch of our new blog-a place where you can learn more about Chariot, our routes, our drivers, and what’s coming next.  Because at the end of the day, we’re here to provide you with the most reliable, convenient, affordable, and enjoyable commute possible.  

We’ll be posting something new every week or so, so come back often to read the latest. Have something specific you’d like to see? Want to learn more about your favorite driver? Drop us a note in the comments section and I promise we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.