BART trains are, occasionally, delayed and/or too crowded for you to fit on. But for Blinq, a newly founded Bay Area company that's negotiated an exclusive retail deal with the regional transit system, that just makes for a captive audience.
The Business Times writes and Blinq confirms on its website that modular retail "pods" are pulling in to the concourse level at Montgomery and Embarcadero stations as soon as this week, with five more pods arriving in other stations before year's end.
Blinq's booths, which the company likens to IKEA in style, will have space for local vendors — so far including Marin County's EO cosmetics and audio equipment makers Sol Republic — to hawk their wares. Further, service providers like Greener Cleaners, will stake out spots for those who would like to take care of laundry without veering off course during the daily commute.
Beyond the Blinq booths, BART reportedly seeks tenants for more permanent retail spaces, with parcels starting at just 100 square feet.
Founder & CEO [of Blinq] Alexis Wong feels the pain. She grew up in Hong Kong, where underground mass transit is a hub of not just transportation, but also convenient services for travelers. Coming to the Bay Area, she noticed transit here was only used as a transportation vehicle, and she missed its essence as a congregational medium.
And so, we convinced BART to let us create an entire lifestyle hub on the concourse levels of the busiest stations. By offering convenient services and goods to commuters, we can make everybody’s experience a little more pleasant, while providing a way for quality brands, community activists and local artists to interact with a core, urban audience.
With more than 400,000 riders daily, perhaps a little retail therapy will ease "the pain" to which BART riders are subjected. At least it could provide a welcome distraction, but it wouldn't be the first time: In the 70s, Atari games had a brief presence in BART stations, as SFGate reminisced.