TELUS is the latest wireless network provider to jump on the 'bus' and get in on the expanding idea of adding FREE Wi-Fi to Canada's public transportation services. What a GREAT idea and place to install Wi-Fi – people going to and from work or on a shopping spree can now enjoy the use of their smartphone or tablet without eating into their precious and expensive personal data usage. The three Metro Vancouver bus lines: 99B – Commercial-Broadway Station to UBC, 351 – White Rock to Bridgeport Station in Richmond and 555 – and Carvolth Exchange in Langley to Braid Station in New Westminster – this week are part of a pilot project with more expansion to be done in the near future. The buses were adorned with cute little flying piglets…as in the saying "when pigs fly" and should attract quite a bit of publicity. This was the first time such a project is being tried in Western Canada and ONE bus on each of those lines will have the free Wi-Fi on board.
While this is a first in Vancouver, Montreal and telecom Distributel launched a similar project earlier this year by implementing the Wi-Fi on one bus per line per month. Other transit systems, such as Toronto's GO Transit are also in the process of adding fixed Wi-Fi at the stations – a little different than adding it directly on the bus itself. Montreal's underground STM is also interested in adding Wi-Fi to its complete train lines in the next few years – if you can get Wi-Fi above ground on the bus service, the underground service certainly wants to compete.
This type of service used to be costly and the technology was not always there to provide proper coverage. Wireless services are benefitting from cost cutting innovation or even eliminating the costs to transit providers. There are new business models that allow you to use the free Wi-Fi and advertisers pay in return for the right to broadcast a message to customers using the service, much like they do in New York City subway stations – combining both a Wi-Fi and cellular system. With 4G LTE speeds the bandwidth and speeds that were needed are now available.
Give us a holler on our Google+ Page and let us know if you are able to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi on your latest bus ride through Vancouver and if you would like to see this pilot project expanded through the entire bus line…as always we would love to hear from you.