Pilot program begins to put WiFi on 150 Metro buses

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.

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17 replies

      • Uhhh, yeah it is. Security is important for all users of wifi. Especially for many riders who may not have enough security knowledge. Snooping and spoofing is a real issue in public spaces. I don’t know why you think that but that’s you and luckily not the agency.

    • Hi Stella;

      It will be WPA 2. I would recommend using it the same as you would any other public wifi — exercise good judgment!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • That’s awesome! Considering many riders may not be security oriented i’m glad the agency is doing as much on their end.

  1. Holly cows! Much needed and welcomed. Now if they could ever join with the rest of the world and offer it on their subway lines, they’d be happening!

    Who knows what goes on with Metro. They’ve had access points on the Red Line years ago, but nothing came of that.

    • I’d seriously rather have a quiet ride and take my risk on the rail lines than deal with what I have already been dealing with occasionally on bus. . . People cussing out other people over the phone and obnoxiously spreading their dirty laundry for everyone on the bus to hear, including myself even when I’m rocking Noise Canceling headphones.

      Thanks but even though it will eventually happen, I much prefer the dead cellular zones on the Red Line and Gold Line instead. Maybe if the states were more like Asia where stuff like obnoxious cell phone convos on the Subway is seriously frowned upon I would definitely welcome it, but that sadly isn’t the case.

  2. Wifi wonderful. Shouldn’t the whole damn city have wifi. For when you are holding on for dear life in the middle of a crowded bus with a break happy driver I care about my data usage. Take a clue from the general population. Wifi is for the whole city (we have enough antennas as is) and the subways. Union station to North Hollywood is a very disconnected 45 minutes. But you could always play games on your phone which wastes your battery but guess what still isn’t at any bus stops, busses, light rail cars or bus stops. Outlets. Give us subway and city wifi and put outlets on busses and trains. For $1.75 a ride we should have it by now. And just make it $2.00 you know we’re just giving you the extra 25¢ when we don’t have time to break change. Or maybe set up a leave a quarter take a quarter system for all those times I put in too much money never given change back and the guy at the next stop who is short on change gets made a spectacle of because some drivers are ass hats like that.

  3. “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.”

    That’s a contradiction. Random assignment includes the possibility of clumping.

  4. Looks like they are using a terrible Peplink Router. Poor choice, Metro. There are far better options out there in the market.

  5. Wi-Fi is not that useful because you have to connect to it and it’s slow. The San Bernardino SBX has free Wi Fi and with speeds of below 20 kbps it is essentially useless. Foothill Transit discontinued wi-fi on Silver Streak years ago because maintenance was a pain, and that would have been a route that could use it, when Montclair-LA takes 90 minutes or more. The average Metro ride is less than an hour.

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