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Lyft to offer discounted rides to and from grocery stores in Phoenix

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

PHOENIX — Lyft announced on Thursday that it will be bringing its Grocery Access Program to Phoenix, according to a press release.

“This is a continuation of our commitment to our communities,” Drena Kusari, Lyft Southwest regional director told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“At Lyft, this has always been a part of our DNA, a part of our fabric — being able to really be a part of our local communities and fabric.”

The program is intended to provide extremely discounted rides to and from grocery stores to those that live in what is being called a “food desert.”

“A food desert means that there’s an area in the city where individuals don’t have access to a grocery store where they actually do sell vegetables and fruits — fresh foods basically within a very large area,” Kusari said.

“When we were doing our research in Phoenix, it was actually incredibly saddening to see just how large those areas are really across Maricopa county and the broader city of Phoenix. … Really what the program does is that it is enabling Phoenicians to take advantage of heavily, heavily discounted rides.”

The ride share company has partnered with Bashas’/Food City and United Way to offer up to 12 round-trip services for only $2.50 each way to 16 Food City locations across the Valley from May 20 to Sept. 1.

“The total cost of relying on Lyft to get to and from a grocery store in those designated areas is comparable to that of a bus ride but obviously with the convenience of a door-to-door pickup,” Kusari said.

“No walking, especially given the heat during the high temperatures of the summer. Our goal, at least for the initial pilot, the initial three months of the program, is to service over 3,000 round trips and we’re also excited to continue our work and raise further funds to expand the program beyond the initial few months.”

This is also a part of Lyft’s City Works program.

“City Works is really a program where we work with the cities to advance causes that really matters to the citizens of the city, in our case the Phoenicians,” Kusari said.

“We have committed a large amount of funds to this program: $50 million or 1% of our net profits, whichever is greater. So we’re excited to get going with the Grocery Access Program in Phoenix.”

Nearly 23.5 million people live in food deserts and don’t have the ability to access fresh produce, according to DoSomething.org.

Phoenix will become the 14th city to join the program, as 44% of rides in the city start or end in low-income communities, according to the press release.

New users will have to download the app, sign up for the process and enter the code “FoodAccessPHX” in order to receive the discounted rides to and from Food City. Existing users can also receive the benefits of the initiative by signing up for the process and entering the same code.

“Everyone should have access to fresh and healthy foods, and we recognize that grocery shopping comes with many challenges in some neighborhoods,” Kusari said.

“Lyft is committed to working toward a future where Phoenix residents can fully overcome the barrier of traveling to food retailers for healthy food options.”

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