PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - TriMet’s LIFT paratransit service is now delivering groceries to its passengers.
TriMet said most of those riders are high-risk for COVID-19 and they want to help them stay home safely.
The grocery program just started last week. LIFT riders place an order at the grocery store or food bank, pay for groceries and schedule a pick up time, and then the LIFT driver delivers it for free.
Lorinn Coburn received groceries Monday.
"It's huge, it's huge for me because I haven’t gone out for a very long time," Coburn said. "I'm trying to do my part, ya know."
Coburn first became a LIFT passenger back in 2008. She said she has a degenerative brain disorder and was getting lost using the regular transit system, and that lately figuring out grocery delivery on her own has been too stressful and expensive.
"I was paying kind of a high delivery fee then I always knew I had to tip the guys because they work hard, ya know, but that adds up for me," Coburn said.
Now through TriMet, delivery is free from several stores, including Fred Meyer and Safeway, for her and the nearly 13,000 other LIFT customers.
"Normally, we pick up the most vulnerable citizens who can’t ride normal transit and take them to their doctors appointments, pharmacies, dialysis," LIFT Operator Rusty Walton said.
But with COVID-19 and the stay home order, TriMet said paratransit rides are down 85 percent, so this is a better way to serve those passengers in their time of need.
"We're just picking up groceries instead of people," Walton said.
In addition to the LIFT grocery program, we also checked in with TriMet about the transit system overall right now. They say in all, ridership is down about 70 percent since February.
They’re expecting about $185 million from the CARES Act, which they said will help keep them from making cuts and layoffs.
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