Flint plans to adjust bus routes amid grocery store closings to ease access to fresh food

IndustriesAssociated Press

Public transit officials in Flint plan to adjust bus routes to ensure that residents have easier access to fresh food following the planned shutdown of some big grocery stores in the area.

The update from Flint's Mass Transportation Authority is part of an effort to ease concerns that people had about getting to grocery stores on Flint's east and north sides, The Flint Journal and WEYI-TV reported. Meijer and Kroger recently announced store closing plans.

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Edgar Benning, general manager and CEO of transportation authority, said officials may add routes to a Wal-Mart and other Flint-area grocery stores.

"We realized that it's going to have an impact on the people that we transfer to and from those stores including the workers," Benning said. "So we stared working on alternate plans to get people to grocery stores."

Kroger closed one Flint store last year and said Wednesday that it is closing another on March 28. Meijer also said it would be closing its store in Genesee County's Mount Morris Township, which also serves Flint residents.

Following this week's announcement from Kroger, Mayor Dayne Walling called the decision a "total shock" and criticized the grocer's plans. He said "There is a disturbing pattern of company decisions to close three grocery stores near low-income and African-American communities in Flint."

Kroger cited financial reasons for its decision. Ken McClure, consumer communications manager, said the location wasn't profitable. She said the company lost nearly $3 million during the past 9 years, which led to the decision to close the store.

"In the highly competitive grocery industry, Kroger continually evaluates each store's performance to ensure the location is best meeting the needs of the communities, associates and stockholders we serve," McClure said.