~ City cites fiscal responsibility as reasoning behind shuttle suspension ~
After nearly two years of offering free and greatly reduced cost shuttle services to local grocers, the City has decided to suspend the RVA Shoppers’ Shuttle after this Saturday’s service due to operational costs. As a result, December will be the final month of the shuttle’s operations. The shuttle has experienced a steady decline in ridership, which has increased the cost per user beyond a fiscally responsible scenario for the City to continue the service.
The RVA Shoppers’ Shuttle was started as a pilot project in February 2012 as a transportation support system that is focused on areas within the City of Richmond that are deemed as food deserts – areas without easy access to healthy, nutritional, fresh food. The targeted areas also have a high concentration of poverty and large populations without personal transportation.
The City is dedicated to helping City residents’ access healthy foods, and will continue to explore more cost effective initiatives that can aid in making healthy foods more readily available to residents of food deserts throughout the city. Many organizations and businesses share the City’s desire of not only making healthy food available to those living in food deserts, but also ensuring residents have the knowledge to properly prepare fresh healthy foods. These dedicated community organizations are also busy with many other projects including a produce prescription program, healthy cooking education, opening additional community gardens, and much more. Together with the area partner organizations and many other like entities, the City continues to make strides in addressing food deserts and ensuring that residents have access to a healthy, sustainable and affordable food supply.