Free coach bus service is one way grocer Cub is helping Minneapolis residents in
neighborhoods heavily damaged during recent riots, which erupted in the wake of the death of
Minnesota Coaches has been tapped to provide the regular shuttle service to full-size stores
located several miles from the stores being rebuilt.
The rides are part of an operation dubbed “Cub Kindness.”
Providing free coach bus rides has generated some positive publicity for the grocery chain.
“They’re getting some feel-good stories out of it, and I’ve certainly seen some tweets and some people that have just said, ‘Wow, this is pretty cool,’ even if they’re not taking advantage of service. They’re getting some goodwill just by providing the service,” said Barry Howell, who oversees Minnesota Coaches’ Minneapolis operation.
In addition to the free shuttles, the grocery is building two temporary stores and offering free
grocery pickup to aid residents.
“We know that even though these two stores are closed, life events, activities, and special
occasions continue to take place and the community needs its neighborhood grocer to be there
providing access to essential food and grocery items. We’re proud to offer a variety of options
for customers to shop with Cub,” Cub CEO Mike Stigers explained in a statement.
Nowhere to shop nearby
Without the coach buses, it would be nearly impossible for the neighborhood residents to
“There’s nowhere for these people to shop around those two stores,” Howell said. “I
would say a significant percentage of the people who live within six blocks of those stores don’t have cars, because it’s very urban. It’s really a shame, because you and I both know that the
vast majority of people that live in those communities had nothing to do with all the ruckus.”
Stigers added, “CUB is actively involved in our communities and it is our responsibility to roll-up our sleeves and find solutions to help meet the needs of our neighbors, family, and friends while our Broadway and Lake Street stores are under construction. As Minnesota’s
hometown grocer, CUB has been an integral part of this state’s landscape for over 50 years and
we are fully committed to these communities, reopening our stores, and being a part of these
great neighborhoods once again.”
Ridership was initially light when the free shuttles began rolling the last week of June, but that
should pick up once word gets out, Howell predicts.
The shuttles’ loop between the devastated neighborhood to nearby stores that are open is about
a 15-minute drive. Pickups and drop-off take place hourly.
“It’s a really neat thing because, what’s impressive is Cub very much worked with us
relative to social distancing. We’ve set a maximum of 20 passengers per trip,” said Howell,
adding that the grocer supplied the buses with masks to hand out to riders if they don’t have
Cub is also providing cardboard totes for the luggage bay so residents can store their
bags there for convenience instead of lugging them onto the bus.
Setting up the bus service was smooth because Cub has a longtime relationship with
Minnesota Coaches from philanthropy work around the city.
The contract for two motorcoaches has provided needed jobs for some of the unemployed
drivers. Much of the company’s 100-motorcoach fleet has been parked since mid-March, with
the exception of heading to Washington, D.C., for the “Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness”
rally in May.
Minnesota Coaches is privately owned and has five locations in Minnesota, including 100
motorcoaches and 1,100 school buses.
“We have a very, very eclectic and wide range of clientele. We do several professional sports
teams, we do lots of college athletic teams, lots of corporate kinds of events and shuttle work,
senior groups and student tours. We are committed to a complete disinfecting program to
ensure the safety of our drivers and our passengers” Howell said.