When Ford backed the on-demand shuttle service Bridj, the future looked rosy: there would soon be a day where an economical trip to the airport involved just a few taps on your phone. However, it now looks like that vision will have to wait. Bridj has revealed that it's shutting down after failing to close a deal for a "sizable transaction" with a "major car company" (not necessarily Ford). Both sides expected to clinch the agreement, Bridj chief Matt George says, but it didn't go through.
The service wasn't far-reaching when it started in Kansas City and went on to cover Austin, Boston and Washington, DC. This is an abrupt end, however. And whichever company was involved in the deal, Ford will emerge relatively unscathed. The automaker recently bought a shuttle service, Chariot -- it can devote its attention to an on-demand business it controls instead of supporting a partnership. It won't be shocking if Ford fills the gaps created by the shutdown, especially as it prepares for a day when many more people don't own cars.