MTA cuts free WiFi service on city buses, cites lack of use


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has shut off its free wifi service on city buses earlier this month due to scant usage by straphangers.

The free wireless internet service was costing the MTA $3.3 million per year, but was hardly used by riders, with only about 2% of riders signing in on a given weekday. The news was first reported Sunday by Gothamist and was confirmed by amNewYork Metro.

Free wifi on the subway remains in place, an MTA spokesperson confirmed.

Wifi was unveiled on buses starting in 2016, as the city rolled out a new fleet also decked out with USB ports. About 75% of the MTA bus fleet was outfitted with wifi before it was shut off on Jan. 14. Despite that, hardly anyone was taking advantage of it, with cellular service widely available on above-ground jitneys.

The next frontier for the transit authority is installing cell service throughout the subway system, allowing straphangers to use the internet and send texts even in an underground tunnel. Wifi is also set to be installed at above-ground subway stations, bringing wireless internet to all 472 stations in the system. The MTA inked a $600 million contract with Transit Wireless for the undertaking.

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