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Need a ride? JATA program provides free transport to grocery stores

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – From the bus stop to the checkout line, it’s a journey Terri Fisher takes every week as part of the Jackson Area Transportation Authority’s “Shop and Ride” program.

“I love the fact that I can just get up even on an hour route to go and do what I need to do,” said Fisher.

The program allows anyone to ride a JATA bus to and from grocery stores like Kroger or Polly’s for free if they buy a few items.

“If a person walks into a Polly’s County Market and spends $20, they get a free bus ride back home for spending that money. The same thing with Kroger, if they walk in there and spend $20, they take it to the service center and they get a free ride back home,” said JATA Executive Director Michael Brown.

The goal is to bridge the gap for people living in low-income neighborhoods with limited access to grocery stores. Leaders say it’s something several areas in Jackson are facing.

“The most missing grocery stores and stuff is around the south side of Jackson. There is just not a lot going on the south side and the east side, if I’m being honest. The east side as well there’s not a lot going on as far as people being able to go out and shop,” said Brown.

The city has plans to bring a grocery store to Jackson’s south side, but for now, Fisher says JATA’s Shop and Ride has been a lifesaver.

“For groceries, yes, because it helps my independence. Sometimes when someone needs something, I’ll get them something too, but for me it’s just awesome,” Fisher said.

The bus line runs throughout the day.

“To get the people where they need to go to get the food,” said Brown.

And every week this is where Fisher will be.

“I thank God for that.”

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