With GoRide Ford Motors aims to make yet another splash into its mobility services businesses.
On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co revealed a strategic step it had taken: it was expanding GoRide, its medical transport service in Southeast Michigan, as part of one of its several efforts to build a ride services business around its Transit commercial van.
Under a multi-year agreement with Beaumont Health, a Michigan-based healthcare system, Ford will use Transit vans to transport patients to medical appointments, to and fro from hospitals, homes or rehabilitation centers.
The current agreement essentially is an extension of a previously announced test project wherein Ford provided 15 vans which served Beaumont facilities and had announced that it planned to deploy 60 vans by the end of the year
According to Minyang Jiang, the CEO of Ford’s GoRide business, van drivers will not be Ford’s direct employees.
Like many other legacy automakers, Ford is transitioning to a ride services model. The automaker’s shares have been weighed down by investor concerns that it may not be in a position to capture revenue from the upcoming transportation as a service model unlike new entrants, including Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, Uber Technologies Inc or Didi Chuxing who are displacing the old vehicle ownership model.
In 2017, Uber launched Uber Health, a service aimed at serving healthcare providers and patients who need rides to medical appointments but who prefer to not opt for an expensive ambulance ride.
As part of its strategic plans, Ford has outlined its plans to investors to create and operate more services that bind vehicles that it makes to services, including fleet management and route guidance technology.
Incidentally, its ride service efforts, including its Chariot commuter van service, are still in early stages.
According to Marion Harris, VP of Ford’s Mobility Business group, the automaker plans to expand its GoRide medical transport service to other cities and healthcare companies in the years to come.
“You will see further announcements,” said Harris.
He went on to add, “Ford is still deciding whether GoRide will be the brand solely for non-emergency medical transport, or become a brand used more broadly for Ford’s ride services.”