The USDA defines a “food desert” as an area lacking fresh fruit, vegetables from grocery stores and other healthy food providers usually found in impoverished areas.
Sadly, about 11% of DC and most of Wards 7 and 8 – east of the Anacostia River – has been grossly suffering from this travesty for decades. It takes the average, in-shape person 45 minutes and a steep climb up MLK from Anacostia to get to Ward 8’s only full-service grocery: Giant on Alabama Ave. No imagine tugging along young children and an armful of groceries.
Earlier this summer, Mayor Muriel Bowser launched a pilot program called Taxi-to-Rail to increase transportation options east of the Anacostia River. By calling (202) 727-3827 or going to www.Taxi2Rail.com you can set up a ride from any address (home or business) from Wards 7 and 8 to over 40 approved locations which include 10 metro stations and a couple dozen grocery stores, libraries, pools and recreation centers.
The program will pay for the first $10 which will cover about 3 miles. After that, the patron is required to pay the difference. Officials have budgeted $65,000 for the pilot which has no income or residency requirements.
“Building a more equitable and affordable transportation system is essential to providing all residents with pathways to the middle class,” said Mayor Bowser. “In addition to providing free Circulator rides and expanding Circulator routes into Ward 7, the Taxi-to-Rail program is another investment we’re making to help working families access the services and amenities they need.”
“We are committed to developing better opportunities for residents and visitors to get around the city with multiple options that suit specific needs,” said DFHV Director David Do. “Serving all eight wards is a critical element to the DFHV mission to ensure residents of the District of Columbia to have safe, affordable, and accessible for-hire rides.”