Metrorail riders may one day be able to buy food and drink in the transit system’s stations through vending machines and newsstands. Too bad you still wouldn’t be allowed to consume it.

Metro staff recommends changing current policy to permit the sale of food and beverage on Metro property, because riders represent “an opportunity for retail concessions,” according to an advertising and retail report issued in advance of Thursday’s Metro board meeting.

“A scan of other major transit properties found that all allow the sale of food and beverages,” the report continues, citing research conducted by an unnamed retail consultant Metro hired. “Based on this research and [Metro’s] experience in attempting to market retail spaces, the sale of food and drink is considered critical to a successful transit retail program.”

While allowing retail sales on Metro property could boost the agency’s bottom line (a needed shift given Metrorail’s declining ridership), it’s unclear what some riders would get out of it: The prohibition on consuming food and drink while in the Metro system should still apply, the report says. Pending the board’s approval and authorization for Metro staff to solicit retailers, sales could include packaged goods as well as “sundry items such as aspirin, electronic ear buds, and other convenience items.” Vendors would pay the energy costs.

The same report, as Washington Business Journal points out, recommends continuing the ban on issue-oriented ads (gee, City Desk wonders why?) and expanding digital advertising.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery