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Redbox: Coming to a Train Station Near You?

20 Dec, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Cash strapped local governments could take a cue from Chicago, which has begun installing Redbox movie rental kiosks in select train stations.

The Chicago Transit Authority Dec. 19 said it installed two of 11 planned kiosks after getting approval from Mayor Rahm Emanuel (President Obama’s former chief of staff). Emanuel got the idea for rental kiosks after soliciting input online from the public on the 2012 budget.

“Many Chicagoans asked for Redbox kiosks,” Forrest Claypool, CTA president, said in a statement “It has been a goal of my administration to have an open conversation with our riders to help improve service throughout the system.”

Already a mainstay (along with Blockbuster Express) at supermarkets, convenience stores and big box retailers, kiosks have remained largely absent from government-regulated train stations and airports.

With local governments wrestling economic shortfalls, previously ignored incremental revenue opportunities are getting a second look.

“This is an opportunity for CTA to gain non fare-box revenue as well as offer an amenity we know our customers want,” Claypool said. “Redbox is the latest addition to the list of improvements to the ‘L’ line (one of four heavy-rail lines in the United States) announced this month.”

On average, 746,328 people ride the ‘L’ each business day, or about 162 million annually, according to CTA statistics.

In addition to movie kiosks, the CTA has installed 1,700 security cameras, which it said has helped bring new retailers at rail stations.

“All of these efforts are designed to improve the customer experience,” Claypool said.

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