PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A pilot program sponsored by Lyft, the ride-sharing company, called the Grocery Access Program is providing special transportation access to help some in public housing get to a nearby grocery store.
“Right now, we have 47 percent of the city of Pittsburgh that’s in a food desert,” says Mayor Bill Peduto.
“Forty-seven percent of the people who live in the city don’t have access to a grocery store.”
“So if we can’t bring the grocery store to the community, we bring the community to the grocery store,” the mayor added.
It works like this: residents in Bedford Dwellings in the Hill District and Prospect Terrace in East Pittsburgh have been chosen for the special experiment with discounted Lyft fares to a nearby Giant Eagle grocery store.
“So each trip is going to be $2.50 each way, or $5 round trip,” said Joshua Huber, general manager of Lyft in Pennsylvania.
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Using the Lyft app, residents in these two areas will get door-to-door service to Giant Eagles in the Northside, South Side, Shadyside and Braddock Hills once a week at the fixed rate.
“I think it’s very good for seniors in our community because a lot of seniors get on the bus and they can’t carry but one or two bags,” says Gail Felton, president of Bedford Dwellings.
“This will make them be able to do a lot of shopping within a month and go home directly to their door and unload their packages.”
Lyft is partnering with 412 Food Rescue, the Housing Authority of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Housing Authority.
“Access is a critical barrier to food security,” notes Jennifer England of 412 Food Rescue.
If the pilot project goes well, watch for its expansion in other parts of the county.
“We believe that it is our civic responsibility to address the problems our cities are facing through better access to transportation,” says Lyft’s Huber.
“And our ultimate goal is to improve the lives of Pittsburghers in every single neighborhood.”