Low participation in free bus service to supermarkets

April  18, 2014

      Organizers of a free bus service to major grocery stores for Rock Island and Moline residents hope more people will use the program. The monthly service began in Rock Island in February, expanded to Moline last weekend, and continues tomorrow.
      Eric Bell, from the University of Illinois Extension, began planning the service in January. Flyers were translated into several languages and placed at public housing complexes, food pantries, in local newspapers, and online, but only two residents showed up for the service in Moline last Saturday. 

      "We ask around at various places with stakeholders in the community, asking where do we think would be a good place, who needs it the most, and where we can get the most people on at one time. We had people calling us for the past two weeks saying they were excited about it and they were going to be on the bus riding it."

      Bell says a handful of residents have used the service since it began in Rock Island in February. He is trying to figure out how to increase turnout.

      "Maybe it's a day thing. Maybe it's the time of day. Maybe it's an issue with government assistance and stuff, so that'll be things to consider. It was brought up that we should think of alternatives. I'm worried we perfect it in August, and then there's one month left, so I don't know. We'll see what happens."

      The next bus runs in Rock Island tomorrow. Information about routes and times is available from the website of the University of Illinois Extension.