Lyft is making it easier for people in food deserts to access groceries

Access to healthy food is particularly difficult in food deserts — areas where more than 40 percent of households don’t have access to a car, are located more than half a mile away from a grocery store and have a median income of less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four, according to the D.C. Policy Center. In Washington, D.C., access to food is directly related to poverty and transportation. Lyft, which is gearing up for its initial public offering in Q1 of next year, is looking to help with the transportation piece.

The Grocery Access Program, which Lyft announced yesterday, is in partnership with Martha’s Table, a nonprofit organization based in D.C. that helps provide families with healthy food, clothing and education. The program will specifically offer families living in Wards 7 and 8, which only have three grocery stores available, discounted shared Lyft rides.

During a six-month pilot period from January through June, Lyft will offer $2.50 flat rides for families traveling to and/or from the grocery store. In order to be eligible, families must have children enrolled at one of seven participating elementary schools.

“Through the program, Martha’s Table and Lyft aim to reduce the time, transportation barriers, and financial burden as hundreds of families plan their shopping trips to select grocery providers, and further Lyft’s mission of improving people’s lives with the world’s best transportation,” the company wrote on its blog.