Metro and Max riders will soon be able to get more out of their commute with free WiFi powered by T-Mobile on select buses. All Max vehicles and 22 Metro buses will have Wi-Fi service by the first week of March.
Customers are invited to join KCATA from 1-2 p.m. Feb. 28, at the UMKC Main St. Max stop, 51st and Oak. Customers can try out the free Wi-Fi on a Max vehicle and register to win prizes.
Whether riders are looking to check their email on the way to the office, study for a test on the way to school, or just tweet about their evening commute, they can all take advantage of the new Wi-Fi service.
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is conducting this pilot to determine the demand for the Wi-Fi on buses. KCATA will also assess how well existing technology can meet the needs of riders.
“Our riders are generally very connected and technologically savvy,” said Director of Communications Cindy Baker. “We are excited to provide a way for them to stay connected while they are riding the Metro, whether they want to check email to get ready for the workday or just relax and surf the web.”
The carrier powering the Wi-Fi service is T-Mobile US. “T-Mobile’s 4G network in Kansas City delivers great coverage, reliability and speed. T-Mobile understood our needs and delivered a complete package to help us bring free WiFi to our riders,” continues Baker.
Nationally, the percentage of buses with Wi-Fi access has increased from 0.5 percent in 2008, to 1.1 percent in 2010, to 3.8 percent in 2013. Millennials, who are a growing part of Metro ridership, are especially interested in filling their time on transit with using mobile devices online and being productive while riding transit.
Signs on board the bus will alert customers that Wi-Fi is available on the bus they are riding. To logon to Wi-Fi on a MAX or Metro bus, select “THEMETRO” from the network options, and read and accept the terms of service before browsing the internet or checking email.
Part of the reason MAX buses were selected for the pilot is due to the high ridership on Troost Max and Main St. Max, and their proximity to University of Missouri-Kansas City and Rockhurst University, both of which provide the U-Pass transit pass program to students.
In March 2013, Kansas City became one of the first major metropolitan areas where T-Mobile launched its 4G LTE network, providing local customers with increased capacity, reliability and even more consistent speeds. T-Mobile is continually investing in the expansion of its network in the Kansas City area so that more customers can take advantage of breakneck speeds on the nation’s fastest 4G LTE network.