Wireless While You Ride

HARTLine buses servicing New Tampa will have free wi-fi, says a one sentence paragraph at the bottom of an article in the St. Pete Times. Now that’s a fringe benefit.

Mass transit always has the benefit of giving its passengers some extra time in the mornings. Since one doesn’t have to worry about evading traffic, one can catch up on reading, study, or do some much needed work. With wireless access on the bus, one can also whip out one’s laptop pull up one’s email or favorite blog and kill some extra time. Sounds like a great idea to me, now they need to install that on all the lines (equip the 6 first, though.)

No comments yet to Wireless While You Ride

  • Actionstance

    Good marketing. This could tip the scale fpr those not quite ready for public transit. Will fares go up?

  • Casimir

    Apparently things like this could be the key to getting the middle class on the bus and out of their cars. Don’t know about fares. Maybe taxes.

  • I’m sorry, but free wi-fi on buses? Let’s be brutally honest here: the majority of the people who take the bus here in Tampa Bay are not college students on their way to class. Maybe that’s true around USF, I don’t know. But if you take into account the entire route of the bus system, you know that the majority of the bus-takers are the underpriveledged. These people are taking the bus because they don’t have a car. They certainly do not bring their laptops on board with them so they can work on that Powerpoint presententation before the big meeting. So, wi-fi on buses? How much is that costing me in taxpayer dollars? If they want to do something for the underpriveledged, this is not it. How about using that money to buy more computers for public schools or libraries instead?

  • Casimir

    You’re right. I mainly know about mass transit in the context of the USF area, and this mainly targets the New Tampa area. Perhaps you’re right about primarily serving the underprivileged. What I think Hartline is hoping to do with this is bring on more ridership in a specific demographic. Wi-Fi might be just the way to target someone who’s upwardly mobile, physically mobile, and likes to stay connected. I don’t have any real statistics on this but I have an amusing anecdote if you’re interested in hearing it.

    Other growing cities put money into mass transit without simply conceding that “Only the working poor are going to make use of transit.” I hope Tampa can make steps forward without sacrificing too much in taxes, but if this can make our commute more convenient, why not?

  • Wi-Fi is being implemented (so far) on the new express routes which are choice-rider oriented. As Casimir here indicates, these buses are specifically running from New Tampa to downtown and could feasibly provide riders a way to conduct pre-workday activities such as peeking in on e-mail awaiting them, paying bills, or seeing what rabid bloggers are writing about them.

    Sarah’s comments do underscore the problem with the local mindset which is that only third-rate people use transit in general. If we even agree on a classcist reference to society at all, it’s only true because mass transit has not been geared to appeal to choice riders. They’re talking about introducing Bus Rapid Transit solutions which ought to help change that mentality a little, but certainly the Wi-Fi program is a start in that direction. It isn’t about what “is”…we KNOW what “is”. It’s about changing “what is” for something better in Hillsborough County mass transit that should be our focus.

  • David Hardingham

    of course many students can not take the bus due to class hours as many schools have class that run as late as 10 pm and try and find a bus then good luck so what is important more to increace the frequency and extend the bus to almost 24 hour scedule as many people do not work a 9 to 5 shift and that only incresing with 4 day work weeks as many can not take the bus even if they get off at 7 pm as they need to take 2 or 3 busess to get close to home. so the buses stop running before they get close to home

  • Very useful post. where can i find more articles about this issue?

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