Metroshop

The Concept

The Metroshop is a commuting train concept that integrates grocery stores, coffee shops, gyms, restaurants, health clinics, newsstands, spas, and other types of retail business. This new type of rolling stock would be financed by major brands instead of cities and would permit commuters to shop or pamper themselves while they travel back and forth every weekday.

The Background

Millions of people commute every day in trains. The average daily time spent on them now is close to 55 minutes. Instead of trying to get home faster to have sufficient time to go shopping afterwards, what if you could use your commute to accomplish both things at the same time?

That’s what I had in mind when I created the Metroshop concept. It has an added bonus of being a new way to finance mass transit and reduce its the overall cost.

How It Works

The [electric] Metroshop trains would be designed to run smoothly and silently on their own. The idea is to make customers feel more like they are actually inside a brick and mortar shop than a train riding at 50 kph. This means that new types of suspension would need to be developed and existing tracks should be revamped if necessary to achieve this goal.

Metroshop would be built around a few standard models, which would help keep the cost of development, tooling, and parts down. By using standard models, it would be possible for corporations to transfer cars from one city to another according to demand, reducing each vehicle’s cost significantly compared to existing commuter trains, which are now custom built for each city.

It would also be much easier to sell these wagons on the after market if they can be used everywhere in the country. Instead of cities financing the trains, it would be consortiums of retail brands. For example, a coffee company could team up with a bookstore, or a gym could team up with spa company.

Each commuter would pay a basic fare (at fair market value) to ride the Metroshop, and the brands themselves would pay a rent to operate inside the train along with any leasehold improvement they wish to make. (like any brick and mortar shop rental).

Metroshop would be refilled and stocked with goods at night. It would be possible to follow your favourite shop with an app and book your ride onboard. Adjustments would be made based on demand, and some trains could even be rented by third parties to local companies willing to expand their business into the rail business.

What It’s Used For

The Metroshop would provide commuters with the opportunity to relax before going to work or complete their ‘to-do’ list during their ride back home. You could thus commute and shop at the same time. Most importantly, it would transfer the cost of mass transit to major brands, create a new economy based on rolling retail business, standardize commuter trains across the country, reduce vehicle cost, and even increase their resale value on the after market.

The Designer

The Metroshop commuting-shopping train concept was developed in collaboration with Ashish Thulkar, an Industrial Designer from Bengalore, India. Ashish graduated with a master’s degree in design from the Indian Institute of Science. He currently works as entrepreneur in residence with Design Innovation Center India, and he also designed the Shango intermodal aircraft concept.