By Andrew Hawkins
“After three years and millions of passenger miles as the largest operation of our kind in the country, Bridj is winding down,” wrote Matt George, the CEO of the pop-up transit service. He went on to describe the details of how his company collapsed:
We made the strategic choice to pursue a deal with a major car company who promised a close date for a sizable transaction in lieu of a traditional venture capital funding round. The close date timeline extended from weeks to months, as they sought to gain the appropriate internal approvals that we (and they) thought were already in place. Throughout, we remained convinced of the close strategic fit and both sides had every expectation that the transaction would close. Despite assurances, and all parties acting in the best of faith, that didn’t happen.
Over a year ago, the future of Bridj was looking bright. The startup had just announced plans to team up with Ford to launch an on-demand bus service in Kansas City. Essentially, Bridj worked like Uber, but for buses: tap an app, reserve a seat on a 14-passenger shuttle bus operating at fixed times, then get taken to your destination. The company also operated its pop-up bus service in Boston, Austin, and Washington, DC.