The MTA is piloting a dozen new vending machines at major transit hubs starting today, the agency announced.
At 10 stations, including Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center in Brooklyn, credit card-carrying travelers will be able to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) that will enable them to comply with regulations in place regarding COVID-19 precautions – reusable face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes.
“The national increase in Covid-19 cases shows how important it is for us to maintain vigilance on use of masks and other PPE,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of MTA New York City Transit said in a statement. “We want to make it as easy as possible for customers who may not have masks to get them so they can ride the subway. Wearing a mask is the single most important thing our customers can do to protect themselves and those around them – and more than that, it’s absolutely required to ride the system.”
MTA is piloting machines supplied by two companies – eight are by Canteen, a division of the Compass Group, who will service the machines built by Vengo who manufactures retail vending machines. Four machines branded as “Simply” have been installed and stocked by vending machine company Swyft. MTA spokesperson Kayla Shults tells us this is an extension of a two-year pilot that began last year with CVS vending machines at Chambers St and Union Square.
The MTA did not respond to our inquiry about the plans for rollout across the system. When asked about machines accepting cards only excluding unbanked New Yorkers, and whether this undertaking is primarily a public health initiative or another revenue stream for the MTA as $11.99 for a 3.4oz hand sanitizer is at least twice the rate of what one could procure it on say Amazon, MTA had this to say:
“The vending machines are in addition to other ways we’ve made PPE available. The MTA is offering hand sanitizers in bird cages throughout stations, along with free masks, hand sanitizer and gloves in station booths. We hope these machines, and the steps we have already taken, will be useful and can reach as many people as possible so that all of our riders are protected,” Kayla Shults emailed.
- 10-pack of disposable masks for $12.49
- Reusable cloth masks, $5.99
- KN95 masks $9.99
- Wipes $2.25
- Single use hand sanitizer 75 cents
- 2-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer $4.99
- Kits including a mask, wipes and gloves are $6.49
UPDATED at 8:59 pm to reflect MTA’s response to our questions.