Austin’s Capital Metro noticed that far fewer people were requesting rides via its MetroAccess paratransit service for riders with disabilities. Like everyone else, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept them out of circulation. They also noticed that these riders weren’t even requesting trips to grocery stores for the food they need to survive out of worries they might catch the virus.
So, according to a news story in the Austin American-Statesman, the agency put two and two together:
“We had all this capacity and we saw all this need, so we said, ‘Instead of transporting customers to grocery store, let’s transport groceries to vulnerable populations,’” Suzie Edrington, Capital Metro’s director of demand response operations, told the paper.
As of May 29, Capital Metro had delivered 300,000 free meals to MetroAccess users since the agency started its meals-on-wheels service in March.