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MTA Begins Vending Machine Test in Subway Stations

Originally posted on NY1 by Dan Rivoli

NEW YORK – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is offering subway riders in a rush convenience underground.

Vending machines from CVS have popped up at Union Square and in Chambers Street on the 1, 2, 3 lines for a trial run to see if riders will make a pit stop for some medicine or a snack.

“Now I don’t have to travel all the way over there to CVS to get the cold medicine that i need, you know? It’s right here. it makes life a little bit easier for me,” said one rider.

“No lines to wait for, very convenient. I think it’s with the change of the times,” said another rider.

The MTA says it will seek more vending machines from other companies, during this pilot. The transit agency gets a percentage of every purchase, but declined to say how much.

The boxy machines offer a variety of products for New Yorkers on the go. Some of them, like ibuprofen and ear plugs, are especially suited for subway travel.

The MTA is testing the machines as a response to a reduction in subway newsstands, the result in part of declining magazine and newspaper sales. A third of the 248 retail spaces in the subway system are shuttered — most of those closed outposts are newsstands.

The MTA will test the vending machines for two years. In some cases, the locations competing with subway storefronts like one at Union Square, are just beyond the turnstile.

While the man behind the counter did not want to talk to NY1 on camera, he said the vending machine is bad for business and he has already noticed a drop in sales.

But there’s at least one advantage the store has over the machines – cold beverages.


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