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Lyft offering discounted rides to grocery stores in Toronto


Ridesharing service Lyft has introduced its grocery access program to Toronto, offering discounted rides to stores for low-income Torontonians without easy access to healthy food options.

“In Toronto access to quality and affordable food within walking distance is actually a challenge especially for our vulnerable populations,” said Lyft Ontario general manager Hannah Parish at a press conference at Black Creek Community Farm last week.

In recent years, “food deserts” have become an important issue in community politics, with many families forced to buy frozen and highly processed foods in neighbourhoods where there is no grocery store nearby.

The Lyft program will give 50 families $2.50-rides to a No Frills and a FreshCo location in the Jane and Finch community in the north of the city, as well as the nearby Black Creek Community Farm. The Children’s Aid Society is also involved with the program.

“Through the Grocery Access Program and our amazing partners we get to help people tackle this everyday task of getting to and from the grocery stores or the local farm in a really affordable and accessible way, opening up really important avenues to nutritious food and healthy lifestyles,” said Parish.

Lyft tested the Grocery Access Program in Washington D.C. last December. According to Lyft, 81% of the residents in the neighbourhoods where it introduced the service were living in a food desert. Lyft announced in April it would expand the program to 15 additional communities.

“Lyft was founded on the belief that cities should be built around people, not cars. As such, Lyft is committed to empowering local organizations doing incredible work to make communities stronger, healthier, and more equitable,” said the company in a blog post announcing the first test. “Lyft appreciates how difficult it can be for people to have reliable access to fresh, healthy produce and staples for their family.”

Lyft reportedly plans to expand the program to more families and other communities including Ottawa.

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