Have you biked on a Ford, lately?
The San Francisco Bay Metropolitan Transportation (MTC) announced a major re-branding of Bay Area Bike Share as “Ford GoBike” as Ford Smart Mobility becomes the title sponsor the Bike Share system in partnership with Bike Share operator Motivate.
Recognizing the challenges of auto ownership in increasingly crowded cities, Ford established their Palo Alto-based Smart Mobility subsidiary in March 2016 as part of the company’s expansion into urban mobility. At the Bike Share event in San Francisco this morning, Ford also announced the acquisition of Chariot, a last-mile private shuttle operator in San Francisco that uses crowd sourcing to determine routes.
Bay Area Bike Share currently operates bike share stations in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose. Ford’s sponsorship will fund a major expansion of the network to 7,000 bikes, while also adding stations in the East Bay cities of Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville. When Ford GoBike officially launches in 2017, the service will be accessed by users through the FordPass phone app.
Ford says this launch in the San Francisco area is the beginning of their work to team with other major cities to address urban mobility. The Chariot service, for example, will serve as the cornerstone for its new global shuttle services business, according to Ford. The shuttle service is expected to be expanded beyond San Francisco to at least five additional markets in the next 18 months.
The reaction to this announcement among bike hippies ranges from skepticism and cynicism to acceptance and even appreciation.
It's strange that Ford is sponsoring bike share, but if they want to spend their profits on bikes who am I to argue?
— Matt Laroche (@mlroach) September 9, 2016
On the bright side, I think a sponsor like Facebook or Google would be more problematic. And "Ford Bike Share, at least we're not Chevron"?
— Jeremy Pollock (@JspiderSF) September 9, 2016
— Chema Hernández Gil (@elsanfranciscan) September 9, 2016
— John Lloyd (@boyonabike62) September 9, 2016
Apparently Ford is now sponsoring the Bay Area's Bike Share program.
I can't even. https://t.co/FLlGT0pqAC
— Will Davidson (@kilodelta) September 9, 2016
— Cycling WO Apology (@OCherokee) September 9, 2016
— Ted Rogers (@bikinginla) September 9, 2016
Image provided by Ford.