Redbox for the Red Line?
Virginia has backed down on its threat to withhold its share of Metro funding. The largest fare increase in Metro history will kick in this weekend after a Thursday vote. But the big news is that you’ll soon be able to rent a movie at your local Metro station.
Along with signing off on the predictable fare increases, the Metro board yesterday “approved a license agreement with NCR/Blockbuster and Movie Solution to place DVD rental machines in stations and to allow Old Town Trolley Tours to sell tickets” to tourists. (Unsuck DC Metro has some fun thinking of DVDs Metro riders might enjoy.)
Metro says it will take in about $928,000 over eight years, “with guaranteed revenue of $116,000 in the first year,” when DVD rental machines are installed at 13 stations and Old Town Trolley Tours sets up shop at both entrances of the Smithsonian station.
It’s a nice bit of creative thinking by the board -- a revenue-generator that is also beneficial to patrons and visitors. But Metro could do more.
Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert says Metro turned down a proposal to allow newsstands to set up because food would be sold. Alpert writes, “It would be nice to know how much the newsstand bid would have brought in had it not been disqualified.” If “candy bar and gum sales” would bring in a lot of money, he muses, “maybe it's worth paying more cleaning crews.”
Still, the licensing agreements, no matter how limited for now, are a positive step for Metro, and offer a rare bit of good news for a system that Washington City Paper says is having its “worst year ever.”
If not food vendors, maybe souvenir stands could be next? Tourists are always good for a buck.
DVD rental machines will be placed at the following stations:
Old Town Trolley Tours ticket sales and information booths will be placed at both entrances of the Smithsonian station.
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