Over the next couple of weeks, about 150 Metro buses with WiFi will hit the streets of Los Angeles County as part of a pilot program.
The vehicles with WiFi are being randomly assigned to various routes across the Metro system. No one route or geographic area will have more WiFi buses than other areas.
This is a soft launch but obviously riders are going to notice — the buses with WiFi have green decals on them. The pilot program is a chance for Metro staff to see how the WiFi performs in a real world environment and address any issues that come up. The benefit to riders is obvious: the WiFi will save you data and provide better Internet connection than you may get from your cell service provider.
To use the on-board WiFi, connect to the network ‘Free Metro WiFi.’ The WiFi will have a speed equivalent to 4G LTE — which is good for basic web surfing. The service is free and there is no limit on time usage. The WiFi won’t allow large downloads (such as movies). While the WiFi will be used by Metro to track buses it DOES NOT track individual smart phones.
The WiFi will also send users to a landing page that will have a trio of features:
- A red button that will allow users to alert Metro security 24/7.
- A chat function that lets users contact Metro Customer Relations staff with any questions about Metro service.
- A landing page that will also have a map with improved real-time arrival times and service alerts.
Another 150 buses will be installed with WiFi later in the year. After that, WiFi will be installed on the agency’s new buses as they come in from the manufacturer. In other words, outfitting the entire Metro fleet of some 2,200 buses will take a few years.