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A little more convenience please

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Ever get to the SunRail station in the morning or afternoon and wish that you had a rain poncho, tissues to blow your nose or earbuds to listen to your music on the train? Unfortunately at most SunRail stations there is no place to buy these items.

We bring this up because at a recent SunRail commission meeting, one of the officials said that they’re considering new revenue streams to help pay operating costs. We suggest adding vending machines to all stations.

Vending machines…we know those two words give many SunRail riders an upset stomach considering some of the problems we’ve experienced in the past with the ticket-vending machines. In this case we’re suggesting merchandise vending machines (similar to the ones in the accompanying photo) where riders can buy everything from ponchos to water. This isn’t just a matter of rider convenience. It’s a potential money maker for SunRail.

There are vending machines at Tri-Rail commuter-rail stations in South Florida and those machines bring in $10,000 to $12,000 monthly. Granted Tri-Rail is much larger and carries more passengers than SunRail, but the vending machines offer a worthwhile income opportunity that should be explored.

The vending machines at Tri-Rail stations are managed and serviced by a private company. Items we would love to see in SunRail vending machines include: ponchos, earbuds, USB cables, tissues, batteries, small packets of aspirin, hand-sanitizers, water and snacks that don’t require refrigeration.

Clearly the other concern is that SunRail has a “no eating” rule on the trains. That rule might have to bend a little bit if vending machines were added at SunRail stations. The key to addressing litter is to be sure there is a waste basket on the trains. Tri-Rail has litter baskets on their trains and when we rode their trains back in December we saw very little trash on the floors and seats.

What items would you like to see in SunRail vending machines?