Offered by Cart, a University of Michigan startup that connects people to healthy, fresh groceries, will offer $10 round trip rides via Lyft through March 22 at Detroit Meijer stores. Meijer is donating the other $10 it costs per ride, said Cart CEO Stacey Matlen, who graduated from U-M with a master's degree in public health last year.
"Cart's goal is to connect individuals who do not have ready access to transportation with a safe, timely and low-priced round trip ride to a grocery store," Matlen said. "Customers who spread the word about Cart to family and friends will be eligible to earn free trips to the store during the pilot."
Customers who live within five miles of the stores, located at 1301 W. 8 Mile Road and 21431 Grand River Ave., can order a Cart ride, be picked up from their home, taken to the store and returned home for $10. Customers can order a ride any time from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week from their smartphone at www.CartRides.com.
Fifteen million Americans live in low-income areas more than a mile away from a supermarket and have no access to a vehicle. In Detroit, many individuals can spend five hours and $30 just to make a trip to a grocery store. Transportation barriers have been found to decrease fresh fruit and vegetable consumption and increase the risk of obesity and diet-related chronic diseases.
"We want to improve diets by increasing access to healthy, affordable food," Matlen said. "Too many people living in food deserts have no choice but to shop at convenience stores that stock nonperishable food at a premium price."