Some Metro riders will have free Wi-Fi starting next week. Spokeswoman Brandy Jones says a pilot project starting April 9 will put Wi-Fi on 59 buses and five Access vehicles.
During the six-month project, buses equipped with Wi-Fi will be moved around on different routes, specifically buses numbered 1501 through 1537 and 1601 through 1622. Riders also can look for a logo outside of the vehicle door or check Metro's website.
Jones says $25,000 of the $67,000 project is paid through a Federal Transit Administration grant for security projects, as the Wi-Fi will enable first responders to view a live video feed on buses in the event of an emergency. Metro will pick up the remaining $42,000, which includes software and data service, hardware upgrades, and a one-time capital investment with a 20 percent local match for federal security enhancement funds.
Jones says riders have asked for the amenity, and that many of Metro's buses already are equipped for Wi-Fi, which should help keep costs down. "It's just one more way we're trying to make using public transportation an easier and more convenient option," Jones says.
Metro will evaluate whether to keep offering Wi-Fi after 6 months.