MTA Looks to Bring Wi-Fi to Railroads

Riding on a Metro-North or Long Island Rail Road train could soon be a more enjoyable and productive experience. The MTA wants network developers to bring Wi-Fi service to the hundreds of thousands who ride the rails on the nation's two busiest commuter railroads. The MTA has requested proposals on how the service would be designed, installed, managed and financed. MTA would pay none of the costs. Riders would be able to use WiFi technology to connect to the internet, providing access to their email accounts, "You Tube," and their favorite newspaper.

"Providing our railroad customers with fast, reliable internet service is an example of our commitment to improve the customer's experience within our available resources," MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder said. "In fact, this initiative will not cost the MTA a dime."

In addition to customer access to the internet, MTA has asked proposers to address whether the Railroads could use this wireless communications infrastructure for operational purposes and for other technology-driven initiatives such as digital advertising.

"Our customers have waited far too long for basic service improvements that could go a long way toward enhancing their commutes," added Chairman Walder. "We're re-shaping how we do business here at the MTA, maximizing private partnerships to make a customer's ride a bit more pleasurable."

Proposals are due back to the MTA in May.