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Ride-hailing Bridj is falling down

It operated in several different cities, but a failed deal has brought its "microtransit" experiment to a close.

KCATA Wrapped Ford Transit Van photographed Feb. 10, 2016 in front of Kansas City's Union Station.Dave Kaup Photography 913-219-3569

Boston-based ride-hailing service Bridj has closed its doors after approximately three years of operation.

Bridj (pronounced "bridge") had an interesting scheme -- riders within Bridj's service area could hail a 14-seat van, which would make its way around town based on algorithms calculating the most efficient route on the fly. It wasn't meant to replace other methods of transportation, but to work alongside them.

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However, Bridj's aspirations didn't exactly pan out. In lieu of a traditional venture capital funding round, Bridj tried to ink a deal with a major automaker. As CEO Matt George said in a Medium post, the timeline for that deal was extended further and further until it was clear it wasn't going to happen. Once that was apparent, Bridj started shuttering its operations.

Bridj started in Boston, eventually expanding in limited capacity to Austin and Washington, DC. It also entered into a one-year, public-private pilot program with Ford and the Kansas City Area Transit Authority.

However, as Wired reports, the program suffered from low ridership, a lack of marketing and other issues before it wrapped up. Fewer than 1,500 residents used the service in a city of over 2 million people. Free rides were offered, but people shied away from Bridj's offerings, as it didn't necessarily service the areas those riders wanted to reach.