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:
Here’s how Governor Cuomo announced the news this morning:
Starting today, Wi-Fi and cell service is available in all MTA subway stations. pic.twitter.com/flKQqh1dYE
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 9, 2017
(note: the connectivity is at train stations only, not on trains and tunnels. Yet.)
Which people immediately pointed out was out of touch with the way most commuters were feeling:
This tweet shows a serious disconnect with the reality of what straphangers are experiencing this morning. https://t.co/fAeMEUNzlc
— Anna Sanders (@AnnaESanders) January 9, 2017
seeing so many of these photos this morning. not a good look when the governor and others are all "but wifi!" https://t.co/9IfSBPWXyB
— Jamie Stelter (@JamieStelter) January 9, 2017
All underground subway stations in NYC now have cell service and wifi. Delays on pretty much every line today to help you with onboarding.
— Chancey Fleet (@ChanceyFleet) January 9, 2017
So while everyone would rather the MTA spent the money making the trains run more efficiently, we’re going to see a lot more complaints popping up in real time:
Good thing we have subway wifi now to check why the hell the train is so late
— Lainna Fader (@lainnafader) January 7, 2017
Thank god we all have cell service on the subway so we can tell our employers that EVERY TRAIN IS DELAYED.
— Caty Bennett Gray (@catybennettgray) January 9, 2017
Hey @MTA I can't enjoy the wifi in the subway if no 7 trains come, but thanks anyway?
— Betsy Eichel (@beichel) January 9, 2017
With mobile phone service now available on underground Subway platforms, I can tweet @MTA trains are well fucked this Monday morning.
— Damien Neva (@DamienNeva) January 9, 2017
Notice anything different on your commute? My filthy subway station in Brooklyn finally has cell service underground ? pic.twitter.com/yoyQiEDInE
— Emma G. Fitzsimmons (@emmagf) January 6, 2017
Waiting on the platform for a half hour at Franklin for a C train. But at least I could send this tweet.
— Aaron B (@SlowPass) January 9, 2017
I've never understood why there needs to be wifi in subway stations. By the time you log in, the train has come/gone.
— T-Rex (@InnerCityTRex) January 9, 2017
— Elizabeth Strojan (@ElizabethWisman) January 9, 2017
Some are already missing the days of the (relative) peace of service-free commutes:
There's wifi in my subway station now. Guess I don't have to have a full conversation with everyone I walk by, anymore.
— Kyle Ayers (@kyleayers) January 8, 2017
Lovely. Now people can get cell service in subway stations.
Because it wasn't miserable enough without jerks yacking on their phones.
— Steph Petit (@stephpetit_) January 9, 2017
Just saw two girls facetiming in the subway, so now we know what wifi in all the stations brings.
— Rachel Adler (@Rachel_Adler) January 7, 2017
And most tragically, we must now say RIP to everyone’s default excuse for being late to anything ever:
Starting tomorrow every NYC subway stop will have cell reception, devastating the Plausible Lateness Excuse Economy
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) January 9, 2017
But the more things change, the more they stay the same:
My MTA conductor just announced that our current train delay was due to "the usual nonsense."
— Jody Avirgan (@jodyavirgan) January 9, 2017
Follow Tim, who loves morning existential commuter dread Twitter: @timdonnelly.
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