Your daily commute may be delayed way too often, but the MTA is at least making it easier for you to distract yourself while you wait. Wi-Fi coverage, already in place at some subway stations, will next month be available on new buses that will also have 30 or so USB charging ports. At a press conference Monday, Governor Cuomo and MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast said that the first 23 buses will hit the road next month, with 52 more coming by the end of the year. By 2020, the MTA plans for 2,042 of the state-of-the-art buses, replacing nearly 40 percent of the current fleet. Some existing buses will be retrofitted with the new technology, too; all Express Buses with have W-iFi and USB ports by the end of 2017.
“People spend time on a bus, you spend time on a subway car, you spend time in a subway station, you want that time to be productive,” said Cuomo. “If your electronic device is not working, you’re out of commission in so many ways.” (It’s perhaps worth noting that unlike commuters waiting in underground subway stations, bus riders have always at least had access to wireless-phone signals.)
Prendergrast said the MTA was trying to meet the demands of its plugged-in millennial riders. Via Newsday: “As more and more millennials enter the system and use it daily … these are expectations, not desires on their part,” he said. “Many of the young people using our system today grew up with a smartphone in one hand and a tablet in the other.”
Others, though, wondered if such amenities will really matter to that audience:
The new buses, which officials said are federally funded, cost $755,000 each. They’ll also be equipped with two to three LCD screens inside the bus that will provide announcements, transfer information, news, weather, and advertising.