Subway snack bar gets some signage and moves toward opening

Rush Snack Bar signage comes up at 7th Metro Center Station.

Rush Snack Bar signage comes up at 7th Metro Center Station.

Andrew Cohen’s idea to bring a mini convenience store to the subway station at 7th Metro Center in downtown L.A. has lit up the local blogosphere. First reported by transit oriented realtor/blogger Brigham Yen, the story was then picked up by LAist, CurbedLA and Metrosity.

The buzz has the owner very understandably excited – after all, a shop in a subway station is an untested idea in L.A. Luckily it’s also a concept that has proven itself in other transit systems across the globe.

Signage has popped up outside the station but the storefront is still boarded up. Andrew says that construction is complete and after inspections Rush will be ready to open.

The tentative grand opening is next Friday, July 15th – just in time to entice those riders taking advantage of the free Carmageddon subway service.

Update: I asked Andrew if there would be any seating at the shop and this was his response, “There will be no seating. It is really a grab and go. A lot of people arriving to downtown can grab a salad or sandwich or a fresh juice on the way to work.” In addition, he mentioned snacks will be affordable with a dollar menu offering chips, soda, water and candy for a buck. Nice!

24 replies

  1. @User, Metro’s de facto public restrooms in rail stations are the elevators. :<

  2. @Spokker

    You also have to consider that in contrast to Metro fares, Metrolink fares are quite expensive and that their fares are based on a distance model.

    While Metrolink does has its cons for being quite expensive, but the “ride longer pay more” model has its benefits to maintain a more cleaner system by having a fare structure that is more logical and more sensical.

    For example, a Metrolink fare for the 25 mi distance between Northridge and LA Union station costs $8.00 one-way as opposed to $1.50 on the Metro Blue Line for a similar 25 mi distance between Long Beach and 7th/Metro.

    A person paying $8.00 for the 25 mi one-way trip would probably want to keep Metrolink clean as they’re paying for the price for the cleanliness, but the person paying $1.50 for a similar 25 mi trip could probably care less because it’s only “$1.50 and it’s not my problem if I leave a mess on the Blue Line or not.”

  3. There is definitely a class aspect to these kinds of laws. Eating and drinking is permitted on Metrolink (though social pressure will weed out the most annoying kinds of foods most of the time). This is because Metrolink riders are better educated and make more money on average than other types of transit users. It is not surprising to me that they are expected not to make a mess when they are permitted to eat or drink on trains.

    This might be a perception rather than a reality. Metro Rail is reasonably clean in my experience. I don’t see a lot of sticky soda spills, for example. It would be hard to tell if this is because of the no eating and drinking law. People already carry their sodas onto trains, they just hold them to the side so nobody can accuse them of drinking.

    It might be helpful to start a trial run. Covered drinks will be acceptable on Metro Rail for a trial period, and then let’s see what custodial has to say. There was one light rail system that I’ve been on that allowed coffee in the mornings or something like that. I can’t recall which one it was.

  4. I remember seeing a gourmet coffee stand at a station overseas and thinking, man, *this* is how you do transit.

  5. David, as much as I think the eating and drinking ban should be eliminated, this new store will be located outside the ticketed area and thus outside of the area within the scope of the consumption rules (the platforms and trains). If the new shop was located within the ticketed areas, or within the platform or on the train, I think you’d have an argument. Other than that, not so much.

    You make a good point, but on the litigation end, I’m not sure it would hold up.

  6. So Metro will put signage up advertising the kiosk but can’t put up signage actually advertising the Metro Blue/Red/Purple Lines at any of those three 7th/Metro portals???

  7. Opening a food store at a station without giving the purchaser a place to eat at the station is inviting the purchaser to violate your rules. It is a trap for the unwary and is patently unfair or worse if a fine is imposed…. (Hmm, is the goal to increase revenue from fines via this trap?) Someone will litigate this. Think again.

  8. We don’t have the money to spend on undercover cops trying to catch people in the act of littering. That is pure fantasy. We have to have our security first trying to make sure people actually pay to use the system. There doesn’t seem to be even enough manpower for this. Letting people eat food and drink in the trains would be a disaster. People in this city are slobs. Trying to catch them in the act of leaving a wrapper or spilling their food is next to impossible.

  9. “Undercover cops can ride on the train and would be going after litterers”

    Or metro can spend that money on better service. Going after litterers seems very singaporeian. I don’t think we want to become a nanny state.

  10. Y Fukuzawa,

    I totally agree with you. But when I started thinking about it, how could this possibly be enforced? This requires a lot of observation and violators would have to be pretty blatant about leaving their trash.

    The problem is that it’s hard to notice someone littering after the fact. The only way I see this working well would be to have undercover enforcement, which also seems ridiculous.

  11. The drinking water making no distinction with others is a great example why this “one-sized fits all” no eating or drinking policy makes no sense.

    Everyone knows littering is wrong, but that does not mean instigating a no eating and no drinking policy should be in place. It’s like saying Hitler’s Mein Kampf promotes anti-Semiticism so let’s ban all books altogether.

    Selfish and inconsiderate people leaving sunflower seeds all over the floor makes public transit dirty, so let’s also slap a $250 fine to the diabetic who needs to eat an orange too. Let’s not distinguish Itoen Green Tea with carbonated artificial flavored drinks. See where this “one-size fits all” policy ends up?

    People litter, not food and drinks. The enforcement should be the person that does the littering, not the food and the drinks themselves.

    Rather than outright banning eating and drinking, the control factor should be changing the “littering is okay” mindset so people don’t just dump their trash where they are sitting and make them throw their stuff away at proper disposal bins.

    The key is to keep the people’s freedom so long as it doesn’t hurt the person’s wallet.

    Make litterers hurt and make them understand that the aluminum can they leave on the floor just cost him $500. They’re free to drink it though, but you leave a mess, you pay. If you don’t like to pay $500, clean it up and take your mess with you and put it in the trash can.

    You can eat sunflower seeds on public transit, but if you leave the seeds all over the floor, that privilege will cost you $500. Or, you can be considerate and spit out sunflower seeds in the brown bag and throw it in the trash can at your destination. Hmm, maybe eating a bag of Doritos isn’t a good idea on the train, I think I’ll just stick to a healthier apple. But, I’d better be sure not to leave behind the apple core or else I’d be fined $500.

    A random undercover operation could make this happen. Undercover cops can ride on the train and would be going after litterers, not those that drink and eat. It’s okay to eat and drink, it’s not okay to litter or leave your trash behind. Sooner or later, people will become conditioned that “mama was right, clean up after yourselves, because now I’m out $500 for leaving a can of Coke on the floor.”

  12. I have always wondered something about the no eating/drinking rule – is water okay? I feel like that’s always an unwritten exception.

    • Hi GB;

      As far as we know, the no drinking rule doesn’t distinguish between drinks. But obviously water is a little different and the best advice I can give is be aware of the policy and be discrete and careful if you must have water while on transit.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  13. Also you have NO public restrooms in the subway at all so these people are going to eat and drink then what when they have to go to the restroom?? It was done that way for safety.

  14. The reason for no eating has to do with roaches. Even with the rule the buses and trains still have roaches, if you add the food and drink factor you will have alot more of the roaches and bugs

  15. The no eating or drinking on trains/buses is quite common world-wide. It’s a reasonable law to keep our Metro system clean. Otherwise, if you permit the eating/drinking, you’ll have a dirty system and people will complain more. It seems like anything/everything Metro does, people will always find something to complain….

  16. Then slap a $500 fine those that litter instead of fining $250 for eating and drinking.

    Start a PR ad with that picture that littering costs money and if leave a mess behind, it’ll lead to increase in transit fares. You know, similar to those “what your lung looks like when you smoke” type ads. But that doesn’t mean smoking is illegal, right?

    Same thing, allow eating and drinking, but make everyone aware of the consequences through shocker ads, huge fines, and if that doesn’t solve it, Metro has recourse to jack up fares.

    There’s a lot Metro can do to institute and promote a cleaner transit system while easing off restrictions but at the same time instigating new ones.

    Otherwise, how else will people move to public transit when they are free to eat and drink in their own cars?

    • Y Fukuzawa,

      I think those are good ideas and you bring up valid points. As you know, Metro policy is fluid – bikes were not allowed during rush hours for a long time, but as biking grew in popularity and revealed itself as a great solution to the last mile problem, Metro adjusted its policy. I imagine as more TOD like Rush and the dining options at Union Station pop up, there will be opportunities to reexamine policy.

      But for now, no consuming of food or drink is permitted – and there is a rationale to that.

      Fred Camino
      Contributor, The Source

  17. I really don’t understand the rationale of the no eating or drinking policy in the first place.

  18. So how would selling food (and other items) affect the “rules” against no food on trains?

    • Peter, according to Metro’s Customer Code of Conduct:

      Eating, drinking, smoking, or carrying a lit cigar, cigarette, or pipe, except in
      designated areas permitting that activity.

      In other words, no consuming anything you buy from the snack bar on trains or platforms. I’ve asked the owner of Rush whether or not there will be any seating in his store for riders who wish to consume their purchases before boarding the trains. Will update readers once I hear back from him.

      Fred Camino
      Contributor, The Source