As of this morning, all 279 NYC subway stations are connected with free cell phone service and wifi, wiping out one of the last service-free black holes of modern life. That news is being heralded by by go-getters who couldn’t stand to be incommunicado for even a few minutes of their commute, and mourned by those of us who live in a frazzled state of constant overstimulated and relished the few minutes free of app alerts and text messages when underground.
In some ways, wiring the subway, the crucial lifeblood of the biggest city in the country that millions of people use every day, seems long overdue, an oversight of planning that added an anachronistic to your commute. In other ways, with all the problems the MTA has every day — from overcrowding to delays to its vastly crumbling infrastructure — it seems like a lower priority: oh THIS is what you thought needed fixing? It didn’t help that commuters this morning were met with a tangle of subway delays that affected 16 (!!) lines. Having cell service on every station means you can tell your boss right away why you’re running late — and take to twitter to rage at the MTA without delay. Here’s how people are reacting to the first day of connectivity underground: (more…)
Subway wifi is a mixed blessing: some people are eager for more of it so they can never lose a minute of joke tweets about Anthony Weiner while on the train; others hate it because it intrudes on the blessed moments of digitally unconnected time when your boss can’t reach you and you can have a short respite from the constant buzzing alerts of your needy phone. Here’s one more for the plus column: starting yesterday, the MTA and Penguin Random House started offering free ebook downloads on phones and tablets to passengers in the subway’s 175 wifi-connected stations through its Subway Reads site. You can now get a free novella, short story or excerpt from a full length book sent to your device, and choose a selection that corresponds to the length of your ride (so like a 30-page selection for your 30-minute ride, etc.). The Times reports it’s a way to draw users into getting used to using the subway wifi, which is expanding to the subway system’s 278 stations within two years. But it won’t last long: the free ebooks will last just eight weeks, which is a perfect time to kick off your fall reading list. (more…)
The interior of the proposed new subway cars. Via the governor’s office.
Yesterday the MTA unveiled the ~~subway cars of the future~~ and no, they don’t have cool future tech like “hover cars” or “trains that aren’t so packed at rush hour you have to wait for three to go by just to go one stop.” Instead, they have a bunch of aesthetic and amenity upgrades that the governor and the agency seem to think New Yorkers want instead of improved service: Wifi, USB ports, new color schemes and this crazy cutting edge technology called “maps.” Gov. Cuomo’s office said these will help ease congestion and cut down on delays.
The agency this week will begin soliciting bids to build the 1,025 new subway cars with the goal of having them finished by 2020 or sooner: The first three stations planned for renovation are in Brooklyn: Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street and Bay Ridge Avenue. Are these upgrades actually good or just a fine coat of polish on a woefully neglected turd? Here’s our ranking of the proposed upgrades: (more…)
That guy on the end must be from Brooklyn, not expecting WiFi or anything special. (via imgur)
Today, Governor Cuomo introduced Phase II of his world yogurt domination scheme Transit Wireless Wifi plan, a seven-part process to equip all 277 underground subway stations with WiFi by 2017.
Starting today and through November, 40 more stations will be wired for subway WiFi service. 11 of these stations are in Manhattan (including 42 Street Bryant Park, 34 Street Herald Square and Grand Central 42 Street) and 29 will be in Queens (including Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue Station, Jamaica Center Station and Court Square Station). (more…)