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    Tops Markets Resurrects 'Free Ride Home' Program in Northeast Ohio

    WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- Rising fuel costs have led Tops Markets here to revive its "Free Ride Home" program for shoppers in northeast Ohio. In collaboration with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA), the retailer is offering free public transportation to customers at participating Tops Markets in Greater Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

    WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- Rising fuel costs have led Tops Markets here to revive its "Free Ride Home" program for shoppers in northeast Ohio. In collaboration with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA), the retailer is offering free public transportation to customers at participating Tops Markets in Greater Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

    "We first introduced the 'Free Ride Home' program about five years ago, but it has recently built considerable momentum with the increased costs at the pump," said Tops regional v.p. Dennis Hanley in a statement. "Our customers can save both gas and money by partnering their grocery shopping with the efficiency of regional transit."

    Ten Tops Markets in Greater Cleveland and Cuyahoga County currently take part in the "Free Ride Home" program. The way the program works is that when shoppers spend a minimum of $15 at a select Tops store in Greater Cleveland or Cuyahoga County, they can get transportation home at no cost via RTA. At the checkout, they need to ask for a "Tops Circulator Pass" for a single-ride cash fare. If the customer has spent the $15 minimum and uses his or her Boncuscard, the 75 cents for the ticket fare will be deducted automatically from his or her bill and he or she will get a bus voucher.

    "This program increases store traffic, helps the customer, and increases awareness of the benefit of public transportation," said RTA c.e.o. and general manager Joe Calabrese. "It is a win-win-win situation. Tops is a role model for other merchants to follow."

    A division of Giant Food Stores in Carlisle, Pa., Tops, one of four retail-operating companies under Ahold USA, operates 119 Tops Markets and four Martin's Super Food Stores in a three-state market area.

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