Kiosks on Metro system to offer batteries to charge smartphones and tablets

Metro is partnering with MobileQubes to pilot a small network of kiosks offering customers portable battery packs, called Qubes, to charge their smartphones or tablets. Qubes will be available for rent or purchase at the following Metro locations:

•Los Angeles Union Station – East Portal

•Civic Center – Temple Street Mezzanine

•Pershing Square – 5th and Hill Street Mezzanine

•7th Street Metro Center – Figueroa Street Mezzanine

•North Hollywood – Lankershim Mezzanine

The pilot will last two years, during which time both Metro and MobileQubes will see if this amenity proves popular among riders.

Metro riders can rent a Qube for $4.99 for 24 hours (99 cents each day thereafter for up to one week) and take it with them throughout their daily journey. Once they are done charging, riders simply return the battery to any MobileQubes kiosk in the U.S. network. The battery will automatically be recharged and put back into inventory for other customers. 

MobileQubes was created after company founders became frustrated with dying phones and carrying charging cords around looking for an opportunity to squeeze a little more juice into their phone batteries. MobileQubes’ self-service, fully automated kiosks give smartphone users power where they need it — on-the-go and in their hands. No cords, no stopping, no problem.

MobileQubes continues to grow its national network so other locations can be found on their website or on any kiosk by clicking the map icon. 

12 replies

  1. They should concentrate on getting signal in the entire subway system before trying to cell battery packs!

  2. $4.99 is too steep for most Metro users, such as the working poor.

    Better would be free charging places at every Metro station, in some prominent location.

    Also on buses and trains. I’ve been on buses in other countries that have electrical outlets right under the windows where passengers are seated.

  3. Just as I opened this, while waiting for a bus, my phone asked me to sign in to the Metro WiFi on the bus stopped across the street. They’ve got some good signal strength.

  4. They have these in China, but in a system / network that’s much more appealing than this proposed program. $4.99 is too steep.

    Overseas, you purchase a $10 equivalent cube which acts as a deposit. If you return the charger to any of the thousands of charging docks, you’re refunded $9, paying essentially $1 per charge. I can see that working here if enough of those charging stations were placed throughout the city.

    Otherwise, as a “connected” young professional, I definitely wouldn’t pay $5 to charge my phone. I think the failure is in assuming that people will want to rent these for $5/day (or $0.20/hr) when the reality is, most people will only want a “cube” for 1-2 hours (~$0.30/use) to charge their phones before they’re back at the office or home, where charging is perceived to be FREE

    • I like this idea. That would be good for days when I have to go somewhere unexpectedly (i.e, wouldn’t think to pack a portable charger with me)

  5. What about the SGV, SM, or, when it opens back up, the LBC? Target everyone, not just the DTLA and Hollywood folks. The one on the Red line should be accessible to Orange line patrons too.

    Clueless Metro.

      • I understand that. But, Metro and others tend to focus tests on places like DTLA and NoHo. Then when they try to scale, it doesn’t match. A pilot program should try to get data from different locales.

  6. It’s an interesting concept and could definitely help someone in a bind. I think the best way for that to work is to do the rent option and also a purchase option but where you could buy one, but trade it immediately for a new fully charged one. So kind of like a membership in a way.