Private shuttle service Chariot is a transportation alternative for everyone (they promise!), and they're launching new routes this week (well, maybe) to prove it. In what is perhaps best read as a business move to diversify their clientele before the inevitable bubble burst, the company says that in addition to their founding routes targeting Marina dwellers commuting to FiDi and SoMa, the company is trying out picking up passengers in the morning at BART and Caltrain stations and transporting them to parts of the city that are underserved by public options.
The new routes, which Hoodline reports will run in reverse of their currently listed routes, will ideally expand on the success of the company's Fisherman Flyer route that launched earlier this year — that route picks up workers in the tourism industry at Embarcadero BART and shuttles them all the way to Beach and Leavenworth Streets.
However, none of these new routes are on the Chariot website routes page, which calls into question how serious the company is about rolling them out now, as Hoodline stated.
SFist reached out to Chariot about the discrepancy, and company Founder & CEO Ali Vahabzadeh replied via email that the company is "still working on the reverse commute on one of our routes as a test." This of course suggests that the single reverse route in test phase may never get added permanently, and the others may never see the light of day (even as a test) at all.
The company has thus far managed to avoid much of the controversy that accompanied their more upscale competitor Leap, who was both called a "crock of shit" and accused of creating “a two-tiered transportation system in San Francisco” by Supervisor John Avalos.
If Chariot does eventually launch additional routes meant to serve people commuting into SF and traveling to all its far corners, it will be harder for those opposed to the service to paint it as merely a way for the rich to avoid rubbing elbows with the city's Muni-riding populace.
However, as the company has yet to actually do so, it looks like we'll just have to wait and see.