Anyone who drives, rides a bike, or uses public transit will tell you that commuting to and from work is taking longer and getting more frustrating. A new partnership between Ontario transit agency Metrolinx and Loblaw Cos. Ltd. aims to help commuters by taking one job off commuters’ to-do lists.
In late February, Metrolinx and Loblaw announced a collaboration to deliver groceries bought online to five GO Transit stations. When PC Express rolls out in April, commuters who purchase products online or through the PC Express app before midnight will be able to pick up their order from Bronte, Oakville, Clarkson, Rouge Hill and Whitby GO stations on their way home the next day.
Groceries will be purchased from Fortinos or Loblaws stores near the participating stations and will be placed for pickup in special delivery trucks, lockers, or enclosed kiosks. The different pickup methods, which will vary by station, allow Metrolinx and Loblaw to test various delivery systems and determine which works best. Once testing is complete, more PC Express locations will be available across the Greater Toronto area.
“Our customers lead busy lives and this exciting new service – a first in Canada – will make their trips home that much quicker,” Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster said in a press release.
This new service is the next step in what Loblaw calls its “successful click-and-collect model” in which customers can order groceries online and pick them up, usually within two hours.
According to Loblaw’s Jeremy Pee, the Metrolinx partnership is “a logical extension of our increasingly popular e-commerce services, and the growing customer appeal for ordering groceries online and picking them up when it’s most convenient. With PC Express pickup locations, we’re giving customers and commuters the best brands and products we have to offer, easy online ordering, and some time back in their day.”
The appeal of the service is obvious. According to Statistics Canada, the average commute for Toronto residents is 32.8 minutes – though most people realize that many commutes are closer to double that. With up to two hours a day spent commuting both ways, the last thing most of us want to do is spend even more time going to and from the grocery store, often amid other errands like picking up kids from school or daycare, going to the gym, or attending a class.
With groceries ordered online the night before and available the next day at the transit station you’re already passing through, all you have to do is pick up your purchases and go home – groceries done. Sounds perfect.
It will be interesting to see whether the new grocery service from Metrolinx and Loblaw will set the pace for similar initiatives moving forward. What do you think? Would you use PC Express, or a similar program?
Lisa Day | Contributing Writer