A Kroger store located in downtown Decatur, affectionately known by residents as "Baby Kroger," closed its doors last month after more than 20 years. In response, city officials and the local Publix teamed up with Let’s Ride Atlanta, an electric shuttle service, to offer rides to a nearby Publix grocery store until mid-April.

Downtown Decatur is known for its walkability, but the recent Kroger closure meant the nearest supermarket wasn’t within a reasonable walking distance for many locals. The new shuttle program will help people without vehicles, Shirley Baylis, business development manager for the city of Decatur, said in a statement.

“We have high hopes for this initiative, as it will not only provide critical transportation to those who need to shop for groceries, but do so in electric vehicles that reinforce our community’s commitment to protecting the environment,” she said.

The shuttles will run continuously from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday free of charge. Residents living 1 to 3 miles from the Publix can summon a shuttle via text message or by scanning a QR code on the vehicle.

Let's Ride Atlanta's operations manager Shundel Cooper said their rides will help reach seniors in places where public buses don’t service. 

“There’s no routes that come from a lot of these senior home communities directly to the Publix,” Cooper said. "It’s just a more convenient way for a lot of folks to have more on-demand service."

Kroger also closed a store in Buckhead, citing redevelopment in the area.


A previous version of this story attributed store closures to an impending merger between Kroger and Albertsons.