D.C. Considers Retail in Train Stations

Washington D.C. transit officials are planning to allow retail vendors to set up shop in some of the city's train stations. Proponents say the move could aid security by putting more "eyes" on the system.

"Since Metro prohibits eating in stations and on trains, the retail carts won't serve coffee, bagels, or other food that people might eat during their trip. Metro did issue an RFP in May of 2006, but which prohibited any sales of food, beverages or tobacco, but received no satisfactory proposals. This RFP will allow packaged food and drink but will still prohibit tobacco. Cynthia Jachles, who is managing the project, is waiting to see what bidders suggest, but believes that in addition to non-food items, vendors could sell packaged food such as take-home dinners or lunches for riders to buy as they exit Metrorail.

RAC member Frank DeBernardo also suggested Metro reach out to the U.S. Postal Service, as his commute by bus and train from Greenbelt to Virginia does not pass by any post offices. Many riders might find it convenient to mail a letter or buy stamps while waiting for the train. Other members including Fairfax's Evelyn Tomaszewski worried that despite the restrictions, this program might increase eating and drinking on Metro, which is still fairly common despite the rules.

Jachles, who previously worked on retail concessions for New York City, talked with many other transit agencies about their experiences. Chicago and San Francisco, which also prohibit eating and drinking on their transit systems, have successful retail kiosks in some of their stations. Also, police officers in at least one other city feel that vendors have improved safety by adding 'eyes on the street.'"

Thanks to Reconnecting America

Full Story: Metro exploring retail in rail stations

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