With more than a quarter of all Baltimore City residents living in a food desert, meaning there’s no supermarket in a walkable distance, the taxpayers are now funding a new program that will pay for their Lyft ride to the grocery store.
Starting Monday, residents in South and West Baltimore City, some of the most impoverished areas in the country, can register online for Lyft and get government-subsidized trips to participating grocery stores, reported The Baltimore Sun.
The pilot program will sponsor up to 200 residents, will cover one-way rides up to $2.50. Each rider can take as many as eight trips per month.
“Whoa, that is lovely,” Evelyn Robinson told The Sun. “I wouldn’t have to wait for someone to be available to take me or pay as much money. I could go whenever I wanted.”
For some more color on South and West Baltimore City, these areas are low-income neighborhoods, about 33% of households don’t even own vehicles, and most folks have negative net wealth. Many don’t have jobs because the local economy has been stuck in a depression for twenty years.
Both areas are equivalent to a third-world country and have the highest per-capita homicide rates in the country.
Instead of supermarkets on each corner of the street, there are liquor stores and methadone clinics.
To be fair, decades of deindustrialization trends have turned many parts of Baltimore into a Venezuelan-like warzone — not entirely the fault of citizens but the failure of the political class and Washington who’ve neglected the implosion of the city over the decades.
The subsidized Lyft program will also roll out in about a dozen other cities to shuttle low-income folks to grocery stores.
In the first six months of operation, Baltimore taxpayers are expected to shell out $73,000.
“This innovative ride-share 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,” Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said in a statement.
More than 146,000 Baltimore City residents live in food deserts, and approximately 124,500 of those residents are African Americans.