Mayor Young and Lyft Announce Grocery Access Program Launch to Reduce Transportation Barriers to Healthy Food for Baltimore Residents
Monday Nov 18th, 2019
BALTIMORE, MD. — Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced today the launch of the Baltimore Grocery Access Program, an initiative in partnership with Lyft, the City of Baltimore, Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), and South Baltimore Gateway Partnership. The program will provide west and south Baltimore residents with a reliable and convenient way to access fresh, healthy grocery options.
“Healthy food is a basic right,” said Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “One of Baltimore City’s eight Healthy Food Environment Strategies is to address transportation gaps impacting food access. This innovative rideshare pilot not only helps residents get to and from the grocery store, but also reduces travel time and puts money back into the pockets of low-income residents so they are able to buy more healthy foods. These are the types of public-private partnerships that will advance Baltimore and I applaud Lyft for working to address this critical gap in food access for our residents.”
The Grocery Access Program will provide eligible local families living in parts of south and west Baltimore with a $2.50 flat-rate fare on trips to and from participating grocery stores. Up to 200 eligible residents will receive discounted Lyft rides for up to eight rides per month between November 18, 2019 and April 30, 2020.
“In healthy food priority areas, a lack of transportation options makes the simple act of getting to and from the grocery store and feeding one’s family with fresh foods a struggle for many people,” said Mike Heslin, general manager for Lyft Baltimore. “Lyft is dedicated to removing the transportation barriers people face in their daily lives. We’re confident this innovative approach from the City and our other partners will make healthy food accessible for hundreds of families in south and west Baltimore.”
Total Health Care and Family Health Centers of Baltimore will support in identifying and connecting individuals in select west and south Baltimore neighborhoods who are in the greatest need of affordable rides to grocery stores. Total Health Care and Family Health Centers of Baltimore are both nonprofit, Federally Qualified Health Centers that provide healthcare and supportive services for underserved communities.
One in four Baltimore residents live in a healthy food priority area, where the median household income is at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, according to the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative; and more than 30 percent of city households do not own a vehicle. For families facing food insecurity, transportation can be a major barrier, with many lacking access to personal vehicles or accessible, affordable public transportation options.
According to data from Lyft’s Economic Impact Report, 58 percent of rides in Maryland start or end in limited income communities. Through Lyft’s partnership with the City, BDC, and South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, the Grocery Access Program will help families travel to participating healthy food retailers.
Participating West Baltimore stores include:
- Save A Lot (250 McMechen St.)
- Shoppers (2000 Gwynns Falls Pkwy.)
- Save A Lot (3427 Clifton Ave.)
- Giant #317 (4624 Edmondson Ave.)
- Food Depot (2495 Frederick Ave.)
- Price Rite (1205 W. Pratt St.)
- Streets Market & Cafe (222 N. Charles St.)
- Eddie’s of Mt. Vernon (7 W. Eager St.)
- Save A Lot (1101 Pennsylvania Ave.)
- Safeway (2401 N. Charles St.)
Participating South Baltimore stores include:
- ALDI (3140 Washington Blvd.)
- LA Mart (2159 W Patapsco Ave)
- Price Rite (1205 W. Pratt St.)
- Shoppers (857 E. Fort Ave.)
- Harris Teeter (1801 Whetstone Way)
- MegaMart (3400 Annapolis Rd.) - coming soon
“We are excited to offer residents of Cherry Hill, Lakeland, and Westport a convenient, affordable, and reliable way through this pilot program to access several area grocery stores that are difficult to reach if you do not own a car,” said Brad Rogers, executive director of the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership. “We look forward to increasing low-cost transportation options for even more south Baltimore families in the months ahead.”
Registration for the program opens on November 18, 2019. West and south Baltimore residents who meet the following criteria are eligible to participate in the Grocery Access Program.
West Baltimore: Participants must reside within the boundary of West North Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, West Mulberry Street, West Franklin Street, Edmondson Avenue, and Hilton Parkway and must not have access to a personal vehicle.
South Baltimore: Participants must reside in the Cherry Hill, Lakeland, or Westport neighborhoods.
Prospective participants can register at lyft.com/city/grocery-access/baltimore-md.
“BDC has been working closely with partners in both the public and private sector to retain and attract grocery stores to Baltimore neighborhoods because they play an important role in building healthy communities,” said Colin Tarbert, president and CEO of BDC. “While we continue to work on attracting grocery stores in our neighborhoods, it’s important to come up with creative solutions to ensure that city residents without vehicles have access to healthy food options. We’re proud to be a partner in the Baltimore Grocery Access Program, which not only helps connect people to more supermarket options, but also supports grocers in the city.”
Plans for extending the program are currently underway with a goal of reaching even more residents across the city in the future.
In January 2019, Lyft piloted a program in DC to empower families with more choices in where they buy groceries by providing more attainable transportation solutions. Now, over a dozen local markets are launching similar programs. Realizing the positive impact the program can have in just one community, and that food transportation barriers affect approximately 23.5 million people in the U.S., Lyft has been able to provide thousands of affordable rides to grocery stores for families and continues to roll out the initiative throughout North America.
Lyft’s efforts to give underserved communities better access to safe, reliable transportation options is just one of many initiatives and a part of the company’s commitment to deploy 1% of profits or $50 million every year, whichever is greater, to help make cities more livable for everyone. The company is focused on a variety of programs to provide access for underserved communities to groceries, jobs and more. Additionally, Lyft is supercharging the growing civic movement in cities by donating transportation to grassroots civic organizations, building transportation infrastructure in neighborhoods that need better connections to the rest of the city, and working with local groups to build toward a clean energy future.
Lyft was founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, and is available to 95 percent of the United States population as well as select cities in Canada. Lyft is committed to effecting positive change for our cities by offsetting carbon emissions from all rides, and by promoting transportation equity through shared rides, bikeshare systems, electric scooters, and public transit partnerships.
About Baltimore Development Corporation
The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) is a non-profit organization, which serves as the economic development agency for the City of Baltimore. Our mission is to retain and expand existing businesses, support cultural resources, and attract new opportunities that spur economic growth and help create jobs. BDC serves as a one-stop resource for anyone interested in opening, expanding or relocating a business in Baltimore City.
About South Baltimore Gateway Partnership (SBGP)
SBGP was established in 2016 to help implement the South Baltimore Gateway Master Plan, a sweeping plan to improve neighborhoods near the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, with funding provided by Local Impact Grants generated by video lottery terminals. Under its Strategic Plan, SBGP works to improve the vitality of its communities by focusing on three crucial elements of the South Baltimore Gateway Master Plan: Community Development and Revitalization, Environmental Sustainability, and Health and Wellness. SBGP is not an agency of the City of Baltimore or the State of Maryland. It is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of residents of the district and representatives of businesses located in the district. Learn more about SBGP and the communities served at sbgpartnership.org.