Buses Get WiFi

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The World correspondent Cyrus Farivar takes us on a hi-tech WiFi service trip in Estonia (MP-3). The former Soviet republic has already made available to almost everyone. Starting this week, bus riders can start using WiFi on the trip from Tallinn, to Riga, Latvia, 170 miles to the south.

L.A.’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is moving towards putting Wi-Fi on their buses, reports the Daily News.

The MTA board last week directed the transit agency’s staff to do a feasibility study by April of how to provide the technology on its rail lines. All buses in the MTA’s fleet could be next in line for the service. “It’s an idea whose time has come,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday.

WiFiNetNews says there’s a slowdown of US train-Fi rollouts but also points out that the New York State Thruway has announced that free WiFi is now available to drivers at all 27 travel plazas across the highway.

Meanwhile Google has added realtime traffic maps in 30 cities, including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Chicago. Here’s Portland.

Metro-Magazine describes What to Consider Before Equipping Your System With Wi-Fi.

Oakland, Calif.-based AC Transit equipped about 80 MCI coaches from its TransBay fleet with Wi-Fi service. The fleet carries AC’s ideal demographic from Oakland’s Alameda and Contra Costa counties across three bridges, the Bay into San Francisco, the San Mateo, where companies such as Oracle and Visa are located, and the Dumbarton to Stanford University.

“It doesn’t make much sense for us to provide this service on our rapid buses, which are short-term, urban-type routes,” says Jon Twichell, AC’s transportation planning manager. “We were looking for more the white-collar crowd that is apt to be going to a central area of employment.”

Like AC Transit, Seattle’s King County Metro Transit also has a built-in set of choice-rider routes that service the University of Washington and Microsoft. Just to be sure, Larry Calter, IT manager for King County, says the agency tested Wi-Fi service on both long and short routes.

Virginia’s Blacksburg Transit (BT) funded its Wi-Fi services by obtaining open grant money available to it for the purchase of seven buses and forming a public-private partnership with a local business.

Despite the fact that service providers offer various pay models, many feel that it would be counterproductive to actually charge customers to use the service.

“The amount we would charge would be so minimal that it would defeat the purpose of enhancing the ridership experience,” says Utah Transit Authority‘s Brimley. Branding the vehicles that have Wi-Fi installed also helps prospective riders become aware of the service and helps current riders know that they are boarding a vehicle with Internet capabilities.

Related Transit Connectivity stories on DailyWireless include; Transportation’s Big Show, L.A. Unwired, Municipal Wireless Flash Applications, MIT’s SENSEable City, Wireless Parking, Houston METRO Unwired, Traffic Hotline, Autonomous Bus, WiFi Train a Comin’, Washington’s HiWay WiFi, San Francisco BusFi, Crash Recorders, Train Surfing, Cars Phone Home and WiFi Public Transport.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, March 1st, 2007 at 12:10 pm .

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