This post has been updated.
Too tired to stop by the grocery store after work? Metro thinks it has a solution for you — and a way the transit agency might eventually make some extra money.
Metro has partnered with the online grocer Peapod in a six-month pilot that allows you to order groceries online and pick them up as you exit the Metro during the evening rush hour. Peapod by Giant has set up distribution areas at the Fort Totten, Glenmont and Vienna Metro stations. The program begins this week.
While the amenity is only being offered at three stations, Metro says that if the six-month try-out is successful it could expand to other locations in the 91-station system.
The service is one of several ventures Metro is pursuing to find new sources of revenue.
“This type of program could generate additional non-farebox revenue in the future,” Metro spokesman Richard Jordan said. Metro is’t making a buck during the testing period, but if expanded beyond the pilot, Peapod, or another provider, would pay Metro a fee.
For Giant Food, transit stations are new territory– and an opportunity to expand Peapod’s growing pick-up and home-delivery service, said Elizabeth Psaros, senior manager of regional marketing for Peapod. If it works in Washington, the company may expand to other markets, she said.
“Everybody’s lives are just so busy and just continue to get busier,” Psaros said. “Being able to shop anywhere and anytime and have the convenience of getting it delivered to your door or being able to pick it up at a store and now at these three transit stations– we think it’s a life saver.”
Grocery delivery and pickup services have grown in the Washington region in recent years. Peapod has 53 pickup locations in the region, including one at a Chevy Chase gas station. Other services also have popped up, including Instacart, which delivers from Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Costco and other grocers, and Google Express, which provides same-day delivery from various stores, including Giant.
To use the service, Metro riders will place and pay for their order through Peapod’s online service with pickup options of 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Peapod will deliver the orders to pods at each station. An on-site attendant will distribute the groceries to customers. No money will change hands and no food will be stored overnight.
“If you are commuting you know you are going to be on the bus or the train and you know you are going to get to the station and then get in your car,” Psaros said. “And so what a great option to be able to order your groceries and then pick them up on your way home, not even having to make that additional stop or even think about it,” she said. “It’s another way of saving time.”
Metro announced plans for the pilot more than a year ago, but it got delayed as the agency dealt with more urgent matters– namely safety and financial woes.