Ford prepares to take medical transport venture nationwide

Ford logo in their auto plant

Ford Motor prepares to expand its GoRide medical transportation service to 40 cities in the US over the next four years, getting into Ohio and Florida this year and other large states by 2020, the company stated on Tuesday.

The automaker has been testing different ways to grow beyond its conventional business of building and selling cars and trucks, intending to compete with technology industry startups including Uber Technologies Inc for a share of money spent on transportation as a service.

GoRide utilizes Ford Transit and Transit Connect vans to provide rides to people who need medical care but do not require an ambulance. GoRide last year agreed to give medical transport for the Beaumont Hospital system of Southeast Michigan. The service has since broadened to Toledo, Ohio.

GoRide now plans to increase to several more Ohio cities by the end of this year, including Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus. In Dayton, GoRide is expanding services together with the city’s transit system.

The unit plans to releases in Miami and other Florida cities later this year. Next year, GoRide plans to enter into North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and California, GoRide chief executive Minyang Jiang stated.

“By the end of the year we expect to have over 130” vans in service, Jiang stated. “By the end of next year over 200.”

So far, GoRide is concentrating on urban markets, but Jiang stated the unit is looking at how to provide medical transport in rural regions that lack public transit.

GoRide competes with medical ride services offered by ride hailing industry leaders Uber and Lyft Inc, as well as smaller regional services.

So far, GoRide is getting capital from Ford as among the automaker’s mobility ventures. Ford stated its mobility services lost $288 million in the first quarter. The medical transport service prepares to generate revenue from hospital systems and insurance companies that accept to use its service to get patients to appointments.

Jiang did not provide a target for when GoRide could turn a profit, but she stated with scale the service should get into the black.

“We’re not going to grow at all costs,” she stated.

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