SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --Are you one of the many people in the Bay Area moving away from owning cars? One of the oldest car makers is saying it sees you and it knows times are changing. Mayors from San Francisco, San Jose and Berkeley are announcing a new partnership with Ford.
In a first of its kind public-private partnership, Ford is teaming up with Bay Area cities to reduce congestion and help people move around. Ford says it's no longer just a car company, it's now a car and mobility company.
The baby blue bikes are about to undergo a major transformation. Today Ford announced it's sponsoring the Bay Area Bikeshare program, to be renamed Ford GoBike and plans to expand from 700 bikes to 7,000 over the next few years.
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San Francisco, San Jose and Berkeley's mayors all celebrated the partnership with ford. If you wonder what a car manufacturer has to do with bikes, a company spokesperson says ford is simply looking to the future.
"Today 50 percent of the U.S. population lives in cities, by 2030, that's going to go up to 60 percent and that's just going to be too much congestion. So we've got to figure out other ways to get people and goods to move, so this is Ford's approach to really look at multi modes of moving people around," said John Kwant, Ford City Solutions Vice President.
Part of that vision includes shuttles, today Ford also announced the purchase of chariot - a San Francisco based startup. Ford plans to expand chariot shuttle services to at least five new cities in the next 18 months.
The prices and rental terms are still being worked out, but Ford envisions a future that would allow people to hop on a bike, and connect to a shuttle seamlessly.
"We'll begin to do some innovative things in terms of connecting modes of transportation," said Kwant.
You'll start seeing Ford GoBikes and the rebranded stations in the spring. The bikes will be manufactured in Detroit, a nod to Ford's roots.
Bay Area Bike Share program expanding from 700 to 7,000 bikes across the region! Have you biked blue before? pic.twitter.com/NnILTaFdik— Tiffany Wilson (@TWilsonTV) September 9, 2016