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Silicon Valley Private Bus Service Gets More VC Funding

Chariot raises $3 million to continue expanding its routes in San Francisco and beyond

In the wake of Uber's rapid growth and swelling market cap, other companies have rushed to rethink aspects of urban transportation. One of them is Chariot, a startup that's offering a new way to survive the daily commute by running 14-passenger vans across San Francisco on five set routes during the morning and afternoon rush. Rides cost between $3 and $5 apiece, and passengers can book from their smartphones and use mobile apps to monitor the location of the vans in real time. And, of course, coming in May, the buses will include onboard Wi-Fi.

Over the past few months, the idea has caught on in the traffic-clogged tech hub, and Chariot now says it provides about 5,000 rides per week. Today, Chariot is announcing it has raised $3 million from a group of early-stage investors that include SoftTech VC, Maven Ventures, and Haystack. The startup anticipates using that money to continue expanding its reach. "We can start a new route within 48 hours," says Ali Vahabzadeh, Chariot's chief executive officer, who adds that the company will begin growing beyond San Francisco by the end of the year. "We fill in the gaps of a transportation system in any city."