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Vending machines at Penn reconfigured to carry personal protective equipment

The personal protective equipment vending machines are located

The personal protective equipment vending machines are located on the 7th Avenue side of Penn Station near the LIRR waiting room and the 8th Avenue side by the exit concourse. Credit: MTA

Two vending machines at Penn Station have been reconfigured to include personal protective equipment, ranging from bottles of hand sanitizer to face masks, the LIRR said Thursday.

The Long Island Rail Road said the machines will help riders protect themselves and their fellow passengers from the spread of COVID-19.

The machines, located on the 7th Avenue side of Penn Station near the LIRR waiting room and the 8th Avenue side by the exit concourse, join several other PPE vending machines that the LIRR’s parent organization, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, began rolling out at subway stations in July. LIRR officials said PPE vending machines also are coming to other key railroad stations, including Atlantic Terminal, Hicksville and Ronkonkoma, in the coming weeks.

“We're doing everything we can to make sure that our customers feel safe as we fight this ongoing pandemic, continuously building on our aggressive cleaning efforts and other measures,” LIRR president Phillip Eng said in a statement. “These PPE vending machines are another way to assist our riders who may have lost or forgotten their masks.”

Masks, which are required on the LIRR, are being sold for $9.99 at the Vengo machines being operated by Canteen as part of an MTA pilot. The LIRR receives a percentage of the gross sales from each machine.

The LIRR has taken other steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on its trains, including through intensified station and train disinfecting efforts, and a new function on its mobile app, TrainTime, that allows users to monitor crowding conditions on train cars in real time.

The MTA also has distributed 2.2 million masks free to customers, including at some LIRR stations.

Gerard Bringmann, chairman of the LIRR Commuter Council — the railroad’s state-regulated rider watchdog group, said, “Anything that can help our riders better protect themselves during this pandemic is greatly appreciated.”

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