Beverage, snack vending machines to be installed in dozens of LIRR stations

The Long Island Rail Road plans to install The Long Island Rail Road plans to install snack and beverage vending machines at most of its stations under a new contract with Answer Vending of Farmingdale. This is the station in Jamaica on July 8, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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A Long Island Rail Road plan to install snack and beverage vending machines at most train stations will generate about $2.5 million in new revenue over the next 10 years, officials estimate.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board on Monday approved a contract with Answer Vending Inc. of Farmingdale to install the machines at 80 stations.

The LIRR's busiest stations, including Babylon, Hicksville and Ronkonkoma, are to get the machines first, officials said.

Answer Vending, which won the contract over two other bidders, will have the option to put machines in 43 more stations over the 5-year life of the agreement. The contract allows for a 5-year extension.

The company, which has provided machines for Metro-North Railroad stations since 2010, is to make annual minimum payments to the LIRR averaging $109,000 a year, according to the contract.

With other fees, the LIRR expects to make about $2.5 million from the contract. Answer will also reimburse the LIRR for electrical costs.

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"The company is local, it has a good track record serving Metro-North and its proposal was far and away the best," LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said. "It will mean 24-7 beverage and snack availability for customers and welcome added revenue for the railroad."

The machines will provide Mars-brand snacks and Pepsi-brand beverages, but under the agreement, the LIRR will require healthy snack and beverage options to be carried as well.

The machines will be installed in three phases over the next three to four years, Arena said.

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