GENESEE COUNTY — This week, the Mass Transportation Authority will be expanding the “Ride to Groceries” service throughout Genesee County with the addition of nine specially equipped propane vehicles. The vehicles’ specialty wraps, which were purchased by Health Alliance Plan (HAP), are on the propane vehicles that will be assigned to Your Ride service centers to transport passengers in various locations across Genesee County. It is HAP’s way of showing support for the “Ride to Groceries” services. The vehicles, which hold 10-12 passengers, have conveniently placed racks for grocery purchases.
The service will cover Clio, Davison, Fenton, Flint East, Flint West, Flushing, Grand Blanc, Mt. Morris, Otisville and Swartz Creek.
The “Ride to Groceries” service was created last year to offset the closing of grocery stores, in what is known as “food deserts”, by definition, areas where there are no convenient or accessible grocery stores.
MTA created the “Ride to Groceries” service in order to transport passengers living in food desert locations to stores in other areas for their food and essentials.
“Many people feel isolated and we believe this expanded service will have a powerful impact on the community,” said MTA General Manager/CEO, Ed Benning. “Opening up the “Rides to Groceries” to Genesee County will assist passengers in being able to get out and have more independence.”
Benning stated this is a different approach to the “Ride to Groceries” that is now operating. “The difference with the “Ride to Groceries” expansion is that the vehicle will come to your home. Statistics show that over 4,000 people in the city of Flint are isolated in their homes. These people need access to groceries and healthcare and MTA is working to address this issue.”
“Consistent access to nutritious and fresh food is critical to a person’s health and well-being,” said Tom Spring, director of Wellness and Community Outreach, Health Alliance Plan. “HAP’s mission is to enhance the health and well-being of the lives we touch, so we are proud to be part of this program that provides this much-needed service to the people of Genesee County who need it most.
All scheduling is done through the local Your Ride offices and normal scheduling procedures will be utilized. Passengers may set up daily, weekly or even bi-monthly transportation schedules for the service. The service is open to everyone.
Benning believes the expansion of “Ride to Groceries” will bring positive change to the community as a whole. “Offering this type of service to our passengers is MTA’s future.”
Cost for this service will be $3.50 each way and the service will run seven days a week. Seniors and persons with disabilities pay $2.25 each way.
There is no limit to the amount of groceries brought on to the vehicle. — G.G.