Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it will expand GoRide Health, an experimental shuttle service that takes passengers to and from hospitals for nonemergency medical care, to at least seven states by the end of 2020.
The service, which last year was piloted at hundreds of sites in southeastern Michigan, is also offered in two Ohio cities: Toledo and Dayton. The Dayton shuttles are available for nonmedical use through the city's regional transit authority, which is a model Ford said it's likely to use in other cities.
Ford has partnered with insurers and managed care providers to offer the service, which lets patients schedule pickup and drop-off times up to 30 days before an appointment. A driver picks up patients from their homes or nursing centers and transports them to the hospitals and back.
Most trips are subsidized through patients' health insurance, but a small number of customers pay for the trips out of pocket, Ford said. An average trip costs $45 to $60.
The decision to expand GoRide Health comes several months after Ford shut down Chariot, the on-demand shuttle service it bought in 2016, because of low ridership.
Ford spun off GoRide Health into a separate limited liability company late last year. It operates about 60 Transit vans.
By year end, Ford plans to expand to Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and Miami and operate thousands of rides per day. In 2020, it plans to expand to North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and California.
"Despite a critical and growing need across our country, most patients are unable to find reliable transportation and drivers who understand their needs," Minyang Jiang, CEO of GoRide Health, said in a statement. "GoRide Health can fill that gap."
Through the first quarter, Ford said the service had a 95 percent on-time rate with average waits of 10 to 20 minutes. Drivers are trained to support skilled nursing centers in need of bedside-to-bedside services.