January 28, 2008 By News Report
Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Murray announced Sunday the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is ready to launch an innovative pilot program that will make free Wi-Fi services available to thousands of riders on the Worcester/Framingham Commuter Rail Line.
The Wi-Fi Commuter Rail Connect test program will allow MBTA customers with laptop computers, cellular phones, PDAs, or other Wi-Fi enabled devices to access the Internet during their commutes to and from South Station.
"This is an important first step in our commitment to improve commuter services throughout the Commonwealth," said Murray. "I commend the MBTA and General Manager Grabauskas on their efforts to get this pilot program up and running."
The Lieutenant Governor started working with the MBTA on this initiative when he was still the Mayor of Worcester, advocating that Wi-Fi service will help improve the connectivity and productivity of the workforce throughout Massachusetts.
Under the Worcester/Framingham Line pilot program, which is set to begin in the middle of the week, each inbound and outbound Commuter Rail train will have at least one passenger coach on which a wireless router has been installed. Signs will be posted on more than 40 coaches indicating they are Wi-Fi ready.
Other Commuter Rail Lines may also have Wi-Fi access from time to time, as the MBTA may move coaches from one line to another to meet service demands. All 41 weekday trains on the Worcester/Framingham Line will always have at least one Wi-Fi ready coach.
"One of the first programs of this type on a United States commuter rail system, this service will provide our customers with the opportunity to get the most out of their time spent commuting," said MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas. "During this test phase, feedback from our riders will be solicited to help us maximize the technology's benefits, and then expand the program to other parts of the 13-line Commuter Rail system."
Forty-five miles in length, the Worcester/Framingham Commuter Rail Line travels through 10 communities and serves 17 stations. Its trains carry more than 18,000 passengers on a typical weekday. More information on this program can be found at www.mbta.com.