If you’re passing through Union Station on this hot and muggy day, grab yourself an icy treat at the brand new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop! It’s located next to Famima! and adjacent to the Amtrak ticket windows.
The waffle cones are made on site, and the tempting smell of them cooking up will definitely lure in passing travelers. You can try free samples of the flavors as well – which proved to be my downfall, as I immediately ordered a scoop of the banana peanut butter frozen greek yogurt after trying it.
Ben & Jerry’s will be open from noon to 8 p.m. every day, making your commute through Union Station just a little bit sweeter.
Categories: Metro Lifestyle
Chicago Transit Authority: http://www.transitchicago.com/riding_cta/policies.aspx
“Cannot eat or drink any food or beverage on board buses or trains but it is OK in stations”
San Diego MTS: http://www.sdmts.com/MTS/RidersGuideEnglish.asp
“Drinking beverages in cups with lids is permitted; eating is not.”
Eating, Drinking & Smoking survey results: http://www.septa.org/cs/survey/results/013.html
Revised Passenger Etiquette from survey results: http://www.septa.org/cs/etiquette/food.html
Boston MBTA: http://www.mbta.com/
No food or drink ban
I know some other US transit systems that allow coffee (or other liquid) in a spill-proof mug. For example, Seattle: “Consuming food and drinking nonalcoholic beverages is permitted on the mezzanine and exterior plaza levels of tunnel stations and the exterior areas of other passenger facilities. Also, drinking a nonalcoholic beverage from a container designed to prevent spillage is permitted on transit property and the bus. ”
The desert transit systems (Sunline, Victor Valley) also allow drinks in proper containers:
“Non-alcoholic drinks in sports bottles or other closed containers ONLY.” (http://www.sunline.org/rules)
Santa Cruz is real mellow: “Food & drink are permitted on the bus, provided they are not easily spilled. Common sense and cooperation with the Operator in maintaining this policy is appreciated.” (http://www.scmtd.com/en/riders-guide/riding-tips)
Call it conditioning or call it culture. Same thing. Lets keep the focus on this side of the world. I feel some of you should just start a Japanense transit blog.
“It is a different culture.”
No, it’s called conditioning.
Japan has strict laws against trash that they are conditioned from early childhood to be careful with garbage.
Take a read at these articles:
Because they’re so uptight about trash, kids are conditioned to be that way that once they grow up as adults, they’re conditioned to handle garbage with such apprehensiveness. That’s the secrecy to Japanese cleanliness and that is the level they have to go to in order to ensure that cleanliness. It’s not culture, it’s conditioning.
There is hardly any trash anywhere in Japan. It is a very clean country despite being crowded. Tell me how much graffiti and trash you saw in Japan. People don’t eat on the trains there and are much cleaner. They don’t have janitors roaming the entire country. It is a different culture. The US is completely different. You can even notice a dramatic difference between here and Canada
“I have to laugh at the comment that Japan allows food. People there are extremely well behaved and clean and would hardly ever litter anywhere. Complete opposite of here.”
Simple stated, what you’re saying is:
“Japanese people are more refined who are conditioned to take their trash with them, whereas people who ride Metro tend to be poor, uncouth, and slovenly (that’s why they use Metro!), therefore we don’t trust them to allow them to eat and drink on our system, nevermind that it’s unenforceable and it’s dirty as it is anyway.”
Sorry, don’t buy that argument.
Much as not all Metro riders are like that, not all Japanese are refined either. When I visited Japan I saw just as many “slovenly” people riding the trains, including rowdy drunks, people leaving their newspapers behind, etc. The only difference: they hire janitors to clean the mess up and it comes out clean everyday.
I definately am one for keeping the current system of no eating and drinking on Metro trains. We simply do not have a citizenry capable of cleaning up after themselves. I don’t want to sit in seats soaked in soda and step over everyone’s crumbs and discarded plastic and wrappers.
Amtrak and Metrolink are different in that riders have trays in front of them like on an airplane and generally have much longer rides. Also, you are riding with generally the same people day in and day out and such sloppy habits are looked down upon. No such culture exists on Metro.
I have to laugh at the comment that Japan allows food. People there are extremely well behaved and clean and would hardly ever litter anywhere. Complete opposite of here.
The rats, that is.
Well the New York City subway allows food and drink, and they bite people there. Although I would be fine in allowing water in bottles or sippy cups, or drinks in “commuter mugs” (VTA in San Jose sells a spill proof commuter mug) the last thing we need is for a train to make a sudden stop, and someone’s soda spilling on someone else’s shirt.
I agree with Frequent Flyer in that food should be allowed on the train. Although most people do throw away most of their trash, there are some that do not. I think the problem that we have is the lack of receptacles in the station to throw away our trash. The (few) ones I see throughout the various stations I use are not in conspicuous places (like behind pillars and such). If we had trash bins in trains, I think we would be able to keep our trains cleaner just because we would have a place to put our trash.
However, I do agree with Anna with the current food ban. I think the rule is to keep the trains clean, and also keep other happy. For example: Kimchi is a popular side dish in Korea and is eaten by many people, native (such as myself) and non-native Koreans alike. However, kimchi has a rather sharp/pungent smell that most people, especially people who have not smelled it before do not appreciate. I don’t think anyone would like someone munching away at their lunch with the smell permeating throughout the entire train whether it be a good smell or bad.
I think LAX Frequent Flyer makes a good point.
There are lot of places in LA that has a lot of people like shopping malls which don’t ban eating and drinking. Yet, they still manage to keep it clean with janitors cleaning the place up after hours.
Why can’t Metro be more like that instead of banning eating and drinking and expecting people to follow rules when it clearly can’t be enforced?
There’s a cost to everything, but clearly shopping malls don’t use taxes to hire janitors to clean the place up every night.
And if eating and drinking isn’t banned on Metrolink and Amtrak, which should it banned for Metro? Why does the ban apply to Metro only? Clearly eating and drinking aren’t banned on other forms of transit like airplanes or Greyhound either. So why just Metro?
I used to go to Famima at 7th and Metro; i’d buy a Chai latte and a Chocolate croissant, and I would munch on the train almost always. Was very respectful and cleaned up after myself. One day a deputy saw me munch my croissant. He politely said, “You gotta wait to eat your breakfast after you ride.” I appreciated this because he had a sense that I was just another person on my way to work with very little time to have a meal. Now lets not be cynical, if your child is crying, it would be a lot less annoying to just feed the kid.
As if nobody was bringing food through LAUS before…
Whitman Lam –
Where exactly would you put retail on the Gateway side?
What, it’s going to cost billions in taxpayer money to figure out a study on something that is common sense as this?
Ban food and drinks to be sold at Union Station for a year and see how well that works out for you in terms of revenue. Is it worth it to skimp on janitorial costs for Union Station and drive away businesses like Famima! and Ben & Jerry’s there because food and drinks are now banned at Union Station?
You also have to wonder what the biggest different why places like shopping malls, airports, Dodgers Stadium, clearly places where there are no bans on food or drinks, are able to open every day freshly clean, in sharp contrast to say, like the train stations like the Blue Line.
Where do they get the revenues to help pay for janitorial staff? Who picks up the trash and litter at these places? Where do they get the funds to make it so clean?
It’s really simple if you think about it; trying to enforce an unenforceable policy with things like “culture change” (sorry, it’s not gonna happen overnight) just ends up wasting money when the easiest and most common sense answer is to just end the ban, use sales revenue and hire janitors instead.
Well Frequent Flyer, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on this topic. I’d love to see more newstands and snack shops at stations, but I personally don’t have a problem with the food and drink ban on Metro trains and platforms.
The Source, Contributor
@LAX Frequent Flyer:
While I agree with your logic about hiring more janitors with the profits from station retail opportunities, I feel obligated to point out that even with their current janitorial staff certain stations and especially trains (including virtually every train on the Blue and, tragically as a result of its operation as a Blue-branch, the Expo) are already filthy for most of the day. I doubt it’s possible for them to hire enough janitors to keep every one of those trains and stations clean all day. I would argue it’s more important for Metro to try and improve rider culture such that undesirable behaviors like littering, urinating in stations, and vandalizing are socially unacceptable instead of tolerated or ignored.
Why is there so much retail on the Union Station side, but almost ZERO shops on the Metro Gateway side ? They connect to each other …
I saw that Ben and Jerry’s on Monday and I was wondering when it was going to open.
I think there’s a huge difference between what ought to be available inside the station gates and what can be added to the area surrounding a station. I don’t think Metro should bend the food rules, but I see nothing wrong with a small newspaper vendor inside a station.
However, as we extend the Purple Line and build the Regional Connector, we should be looking at making underground links and connections to the basement levels of established retail outside the gates where possible. Not every station exit has to lead to a sidewalk.
Quite frankly, I think there needs to be study made on what is the true cost of trying to enforce the “no eating/no drinking” ban on our systems.
If it’s more than hiring janitors to clean up the trains everyday, then it’s probably just easier to end the ban, start allowing sales of drinks and food at stations, and use that revenue to hire janitors to clean the train everyday.
That method seems to work in Japan; people are allowed to eat and drink on all the trains and subways there and the trains are cleaned everyday by janitors. Maybe because they figured out a long time ago that it’s cheaper that way than trying to enforce the no food/no drinking policy.
Hi Frequent Flyer,
Personally I am not opposed to the study, but I can’t support it until I know where the funding for this study will come from.
Also, while food and drink are not banned on Japan’s subways, do note that Japanese people do not eat on the subways as it is extremely impolite to do so. They do eat and drink on the commuter trains which sell bento and have seat trays, same as you’re able to do aboard Metrolink and Amtrak trains.
The Source, Contributor
I personally believe the blanket “no drinking and no eating” policy is doing more harm than good for Metro.
Above and most of all, the ban is rarely enforced and the wording is too vague.
Are you going to arrest a person on the train for drinking bottled water along with heart disease medication?
Are you going keep a hungry baby keep on crying and annoy others because the parents are not allowed to feed the baby until they get off of the train?
At where exactly is the “no food/no drink” point takes place? At the platform? Within the station compounds (how is this different from Union Station)?
How will be this enforced when transit ridership numbers rise? Are we going to start have $60,000 Sherriff officers patroling every station and on every train and start arresting people for eating and drinking?
If you see someone eating and drinking, what is the SOP? Should I call 911 and report the “serious emergency” that the person sitting beside me is enjoying his Ben & Jerry’s on the Red Line, neverminding the fact that there are much more serious matters like homicide going on somewhere in the city?
Just tell them to stop, never minding the fact that person might be packing a gun and might go on a shooting rampage because I pissed him off?
Complainers will complain, even when positive things happen. I remember Union Station was just about dead two or three years ago. A few cafes, but overall, it was dead. Now with coffee shops, convenient stores etc, we still complain? Progress does not happen over night, especially in the Metro world. Besides, who can even ENJOY there lunch on the Red, Blue, Purple, Gold, Expo, Orange, Silver Lines. (Pretty awesome how that list of lines is growing). Would I stop and spend ten minutes to enjoy a cup or cone while I wait for Metrolink? Yes, most definitely! Would I take the Purple Line just to visit Ben n Jerry’s and people watch? Yes, I would!
I think the same rules will still apply, Frank M. Nobody wants gooey melted ice cream spilled all over the seats of the Metro Red Line. Passengers can buy all kinds of food inside Union Station, and I’ve never seen anyone eating on the subway.
Note how Union Station is the only one adding businesses within its station whereas every other train station in LA is devoid of any retail and consist of dead empty spaces.
So Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bought within Union Station and taking onboard the Red Line, Gold Line, Amtrak and Metrolink are okay, but let’s not add Baskin Robbins or Coldstone Creamery at other stations because we don’t trust Blue Line riders from Vernon to keep trains clean.
Separate but equal. Ha!
While eating is allowed on Metrolink and Amtrak trains, it is not allowed on the Red, Gold or Purple Lines, not even the delicious, delicious ice cream. As the shop is right next to the outdoor patio with plenty of umbrella-covered seating, why not take a break to enjoy your treat? Or sit in one of Union Station’s historic waiting room chairs and relax with a scoop of Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream.
And don’t forget, at 7th/Metro there is Pure Juicery which sells some refreshing fresh juices and salads. Blue and Expo Line riders should definitely take advantage, the shop is located just inside the entrance at 7th and Hope.
The Source, Contributor