Students living off-campus will soon be able to take a shuttle bus to grocery stores in Westwood and other areas.
The UCLA Community Programs Office will provide shuttles so students can access healthier and more affordable food, said CPO director Antonio Sandoval. The University of California Office of the President will fund the $10,000 program. It will be part of the UCLA Food Security Plan 2016-2017, a plan created by the UCLA Food Security Work Group to address food insecurity by promoting a nutritious, sustainable food supply.
The office expects the CPO grocery shuttle will begin operating by early January, Sandoval said.
The grocery shuttle will primarily cater to students living in nonresidential housing and nontraditional students with jobs or families, Sandoval said. It would give students access to grocery stores the existing BruinBus grocery shuttle does not visit. The BruinBus grocery shuttle picks students up on the Hill and takes them to Ralphs on weekends.
The CPO grocery shuttle is currently in its pilot program stage and will begin picking students up at Parking Structure 4 adjacent to the Student Activities Center, with CPO fleet vehicles. CPO will gather students’ feedback about the service from an online focus group, Sandoval said.
“The already existing shuttles cover local stores,” Sandoval said. “But the CPO grocery shuttle will commit to further areas, especially ethnically diverse stores, which might appeal to more students.”
Sandoval said that depending on student demand, students can be taken to stores that are more affordable, such as Food 4 Less, 99 Ranch Market and other stores up to 15 miles away.
Students said they would use the service if it visited more stores at flexible schedules.
Anjum Farook, a first-year neuroscience student, said she has often missed the BruinBus shuttle because it is only available during the weekends at specific times.
“It depends on where it goes, because the BruinBus shuttle is limited to a few stores,” Farook added. “But if (the new shuttle) visited Indian stores, I would go every week.”
Rachel Qiu, a first-year engineering graduate student, said she would definitely use the service.
“I’m from China and it’s hard to go grocery shopping alone, especially at night, so I usually go with my friends with Uber and it gets expensive,” Qiu said.
Kun Hu, a graduate student in economics said he would not use the shuttle because he is satisfied with only going to Ralphs for food.
Final arrangements and scheduling for the service will be available for students on CPO’s social media, Sandoval said.