People with disabilities are among the groups most at risk of suffering serious health consequences from contracting COVID-19. For those who don't want to chance a trip to the grocery store amid the outbreak, Denver's Regional Transportation District is offering help.
On March 30, RTD's Access-a-Ride began offering home grocery delivery service to all customers from Denver area King Soopers and Safeway locations, as well as several local food banks. While Access-a-Ride's nearly 19,000 customers will still be able to use the service to get around for essential travel, they now have the option of staying home and getting food delivered to their front door, no fare required.
“We are well aware that during a state of emergency, one of the first things people can lose access to is food,” Paul Hamilton, RTD's senior manager of paratransit services, said in a statement. “When the public is being told to reduce their exposure to others, the last thing we want to do is ask them to leave their homes if they don’t have to."
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While RTD's paratransit services were not impacted by the extensive coronavirus-related service cuts approved by the agency's board of directors last week, Access-a-Ride usage has fallen off sharply as the virus has spread and businesses and public institutions across the metro area have closed their doors. "The number of trips has continually dropped as rehabilitation centers and other facilities that are primary consumers for paratransit services have closed," RTD explained on its website last week. "Some requests are down by nearly two-thirds."
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To ensure flexibility, Access-a-Ride has suspended advance bookings, allowing customers to make next-day reservations only, and RTD is encouraging customers to only use the service for essential trips. Like all of the agency's buses and rail cars, paratransit vehicles are being cleaned and disinfected daily during the pandemic.
To use the new grocery delivery service, customers must place a pick-up order with the store online or by phone, then contact Access-a-Ride reservations at 303-292-6560. More information is available on RTD's website.