MTA Metro-North Railroad has reconfigured vending machines at 12 stations throughout its commuter rail system to allow customers to purchase PPE (personal protective equipment) KN95 masks, bottled hand sanitizer and gloves at the machines starting July 10, though “free masks and hand sanitizer are still being distributed at stations and on trains for any rider that needs them,” the agency said.
Selling PPE “is the latest in a series of measures Metro-North has taken to ensure customer and employee safety during the pandemic,” the agency said. “Metro-North continues with its most aggressive cleaning regimen in the agency’s history by daily disinfecting and cleaning trains cars [sic] at least once a day and stations at least twice daily. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Metro-North stations have been cleaned more than 30,500 times, and trains cars [sic] more than 50,600 times. Metro-North has installed touchless hand sanitizer dispensers at stations for customers and employees to access. Masks are also stored on all trains in the event a person boards without one.”
“Having PPE easily accessible for customers at the vending machines is a key part of welcoming more riders back throughout our service region” said Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi. “We are working tirelessly to ensure their safety by coming up with innovative solutions like this and continuing to aggressively clean our trains and stations. This is a reminder to customers that they must wear a mask while riding with us—and now there is no excuse, if they lost or forgot their mask—they can buy one.”
The vending machines are stocked by Canteen, a division of Compass Group US and were built by Vengo, a manufacturer of retail vending machines. The products range from single-use hand sanitizer for $0.75 to premium KN95 masks for $9.99. Metro-North is working with Canteen to identify additional locations to add more vending machines at stations in the near future, including Metro-North’s West of Hudson stations.
The launch follows an announcement made on June 30 that the New York MTA is deploying a dozen vending machines at 10 subway stations as part of a pilot program allowing customers to buy PPE, including reusable face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Metro-North customers can find the PPE in vending machines at the Croton-Harmon, Dobbs Ferry, Fordham, Hastings-on-Hudson, Harlem-125th Street, North White Plains, Port Chester, Poughkeepsie, Rye, Southeast, Tarrytown and Yonkers stations.