The Joey shuttle yesterday debuted a new route to the Stop & Shop supermarket in Fellsway Plaza to provide students with an easy and affordable option for buying groceries.
Funded by Stop & Shop, the free service will run every Wednesday and Thursday, leaving from the upper patio of the Mayer Campus Center at 7:45 p.m. and bringing students back by 9:45 p.m., according to Chair of the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate Services Committee Christie Maciejewski, a junior.
Fellsway Plaza, which is approximately 10 minutes away from the Medford/Somerville campus, also offers a number of other stores and restaurants, including Chipotle, CVS, Men’s Wearhouse, Off Broadway Shoes and Outback Steakhouse.
The Senate Services Committee last month came up with the idea to introduce a service to bus students to a nearby grocery store. Maciejewski and freshman Senator Brian Tesser led the project, according to Tesser.
Tesser explained that, since there are not many supermarkets within walking distance of campus, buying groceries is often an expensive and inconvenient task.
“There are a lot of students living off campus who need to buy groceries, and there are a lot of students on campus that go to buy groceries for their dorms,” Tesser said. “We realize there is no convenient and affordable outlet to do that for students, so we looked into the potential of getting a shuttle to a supermarket.”
The new Joey route will be free both to students and members of the Tufts community, as Stop & Shop will provide the service to and from campus in order to boost revenue for their store, Tesser said.
“Stop & Shop reached out to [Joseph’s Transportation], who then reached out to Tufts, and when we came up with the same idea, it kind of all meshed together,” he said.
Maciejewski reflected on her personal struggle with buying groceries without the aid of a Joey route.
“It’s hard to go grocery shopping taking the T, especially,” she said. “It’s just so hard to carry your groceries back home, especially if you are getting a lot of heavier items.”
Food shopping can be particularly difficult as an underclassman without a car, Tesser added.
“Every time I’ve gone grocery shopping, I’ve taken the T to Alewife, walked half a mile, then come back,” he said.
Easy access to a supermarket like Stop & Shop also provides a healthier alternative to what has previously been available to students, Maciejewski said.
“I’m sure a lot of students take the Joey to go to CVS and pick up some stuff there because there is no real supermarket that anyone can get to without a car or walking pretty far,” she said. “I hope it will encourage healthier eating styles for people and access to better food.”
Since the service currently exists in its trial stages, more days and times may be offered in the future, Maciejewski said, adding that the shuttle will continue to run as long as Stop & Shop pays for the service.
“Hopefully a lot of people try it out to show that they are interested, and hopefully it will continue all of next year and the year after and continue on,” she said. “We’re not paying, so we don’t have total control, but if enough Tufts students [take the bus], it should last indefinitely.”