Chariot services began in London last year

Car giant Ford’s Chariot bus service, which has two routes in south-east London, is to close this month after bosses decided it was “not sustainable”.

The firm’s London routes, including the Shooters Hill Shot to North Greenwich and Nuxley Navigator to Abbey Wood station, will run their final journeys on Friday 25 January, almost a year after it began.

Plans to extend the Shooters Hill Shot so it ran via Westcombe Hill and Westcombe Park station were abandoned last year after Transport for London refused to give it a licence after resident objections.

News of the service’s closure was posted on its website last week, while its chief executive Dan Grossman was quoted by tech website The Verge as saying: “In today’s mobility landscape, the wants and needs of customers and cities are changing rapidly. As those changes continue, it has become clear that the mobility services delivered by Chariot over the past five years will not be a sustainable solution going forward.”

The bus-like minivans run in rush hours only. Users book a seat on one of the limited-stop services with an app – as they would with Uber or a taxi app – but the minivans run to a timetable, just like a bus. While it is licensed by TfL, it runs independently of its network and does not accept its fares.

The Shooters Hill Shot run down side streets in Shooters Hill and Kidbrooke, linking the areas to North Greenwich but also upsetting residents who claimed its drivers had been seen defecating by the side of the road. Documents released by TfL under the Freedom of Information Act to 853 revealed that news coverage of the incident had been pinned up in the service’s garage to remind drivers of their responsibilities. Other residents were also unhappy to see their addresses suddenly publicised as bus stops.

The Nuxley Navigator also ran into problems on its route, and the delay in Crossrail opening at Abbey Wood will also have damaged its prospects.

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