Transit Wireless, the networking company contracted by the MTA, secured deals last week with AT&T and T-Mobile, and started laying the groundwork for cell phone service on NYC subways. Within 2 years, networking will be available on 6 testing sites near 14th street. After 4 years, the rest of NYC’s 227 stations will follow. Where some platforms are close together, commuters may have the ability to talk, text and surf while riding inside cars themselves.
“For too long the subway system has been an information black hole in our lives, and bringing cell and Wi-Fi service to stations is one of the ways we are working to change that,” said Jay H. Walder, MTA Chairman.
Although some see this upgrade as overdue, others find cell phone users already have a license to be obnoxious and this will only get worse.
Other cities already have cell phones in transit systems, but there are a host of problems that come along with that. Boston, for instance, saw an increase of cell phone theft.
In August, The Brian Lehrer Show asked riders to weigh in on the issue and got an earful about etiquette and a comment box full of complaints like this one:
“Instead of having ‘quiet cars’ why not reverse it, make the whole train a quiet zone and reserve a car or two for those that want to be loud and obnoxious?” said Curt from Washington Heights.
On the other hand, when commuters get trapped underground, cell phones can be useful in informing people of your lateness. Even the subway-loving, Mayor Bloomberg, couldn’t escape getting stuck in the Union Square station in 2004.
Is the MTA’s cell phone plan useful or does it offer one more chance for a rude fellow New Yorker to annoy you?
Do improvements like this justify the rising cost of your metro fare, whose price is being voted on this week?