food desert by Julia Sarantis December 19, 2018
The ride-hailing company, Lyft, is giving more rides for people in need.
Lyft has announced its Grocery Access Program; an initiative to help people who occupy low-income households who live far from grocery stores and who do not have transportation to get a lift to the store.
In partnership with Martha’s Table — a D.C.-based nonprofit that provides families with access to healthy food, education, and clothing — the program will start in Washington D.C. next year.
Lyft providing a low cost, standard fee to people living in food desert areas will not stop grocery stores from being built in the long run. Advocates are fighting and will continue fighting to combat these issues but a quick fix is needed right now. Families can't wait.
— As Told By Ginger (@La_Rhonnie) December 17, 2018
Families who qualify for the program can use up to 50 rides and pay just $2.50 both ways to and from the nearest supermarket in their neighborhood.
Only full-service grocery stores will be part of the service, as opposed to local convenience stores in an effort to encourage healthy eating by having access to more fresh fruit, vegetables and lean proteins.
The program is designed to help families in food deserts — areas where more than 40% of homes are located over a mile and a half from grocery stores.
Here’s what I don’t get about the naysayers of the Lyft food desert thing—you think no one else recognizes there’s a larger societal issue?
But why can’t you appreciate the smaller step of someone to address the intermediate (and often more immediate) issue?
— 💎🏆Walking Trophy 🏆💎 (@HighHeelEsquire) December 17, 2018
Using this classification, in the case of D.C., residents living in Wards 7 and 8 are living in a food desert and will qualify for the new program. But these two districts make up a larger national statistic of 23.5 million people living in food deserts across the United States.
This isn’t the first time Lyft has acknowledged transportation is a major barrier people encounter on a day-to-day basis.
The company gave discount rides to get people to the polling station this midterm election recognizing the lack of public transportation as a mode of voter suppression.
Earlier this year, Lyft pledged $1.5 million over the next year to extend the free ride program to low-income people and veterans who need transportation for things job interviews and doctors appointments.
Plus, the company had in place a Relief Rides program to provide transportation for people in the cases of a natural disaster and other crisis.
These string of social initiatives continue to elevate Lyft and set the company apart from its ride-sharing rival Uber, and we are here for it.