Ford Motor stated on Wednesday that it was expanding a medical transport service named GoRide in Southeast Michigan, one of several efforts by the automaker to develop new ride service businesses around its Transit commercial van.
Under a multi-year agreement with Michigan healthcare system Beaumont Health, the automaker will use Transit vans to transport patients to medical appointments, or from hospitals to residence or rehabilitation centers.
Ford already has 15 vans that are used for Beaumont facilities as part of a earlier announced test project and prepares to deploy 60 vans by the end of the year, the company stated.
Van drivers will not be direct Ford workers, stated Minyang Jiang, head of the GoRide business.
Like other legacy automakers, Ford had a hard time to lift its shares as investors worry that ride services firms such as Uber Technologies Inc and China’s Didi Chuxing, or technology firms like Alphabet Inc, are better positioned to capture revenue from giving transportation as a service, and replacing vehicle ownership.
In 2017, Uber launched a service called Uber Health, also meant to be serving healthcare providers and patients who need rides to medical appointments but who do not require an expensive ambulance ride.
Ford has defined to investors plans to create and run more services that tie along with vehicles that the automaker builds, particularly the Transit van, fleet management and route guidance technology the company is developing, and data generated by the automobiles.