SCHUMER TO MTA: BRING FREE WIRELESS INTERNET TO THE LIRR - TECHNOLOGY IS READILY AVAILABLE TO WIRE ENTIRE LIRR NETWORK BUT THE MTA HAS FAILED TO MOVE ON THE PLANS
Schumer Makes Direct Appeal to MTA Asking them to Fast Track Project -- If Approved Quickly Project Could be Available for Stimulus Funding
Wireless Internet on the LIRR is a Win-Win for Everyone: Makes the Long Commute More Productive and Pleasant for Riders and Boosts Ridership for the LIRR
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today made a direct appeal to the MTA asking the agency to kick start plans to bring free wireless internet to the entire Long Island Rail Road system, including all trains, platforms, and stations. Plans to bring wireless internet to the LIRR have been in the works for months but the MTA has still not acted even as other major mass transit systems across the United States have onboard major wireless internet networks up and running. Schumer said the technology to wire the system is readily available and asked the MTA to fast track the pilot projects and the Request for Proposal and approval process saying that if the MTA acts fast, the project may be eligible for federal funding passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"The time for high speed internet on rapid transit is right now. It is long past time to bring the LIRR in to the 21 st century and wireless internet will make commuting more productive and pleasant for LIRR riders. The technology is ready and raring to go so its time for the MTA to get rolling."
Schumer said that several internet and media providers have expressed interest in providing wireless internet service on the LIRR. While the typical procurement process could take months or even years to complete, Schumer today asked Interim MTA Executive Director Helena Williams to fast track its approval and consider a implementing a pilot program that could be up and running before the end of the year.
Schumer said there are significant benefits of adding wireless internet service to LIRR trains. First, for the daily commuter, the train ride would be more pleasant and productive. Schumer also pointed out that the MTA's trains stop at 28 higher education campuses outside New York City so tens of thousands of students would also benefit by being able to catch up on course working their commutes.
The MTA would also benefit MTA through new abilities to streamline its own processes, including enhanced train tracking, improved communications to headquarters and customers, and heightened emergency communications resources. Plus, the potential for mobile ticket collection would lessen paperwork and improve efficiency.
Last year, the LIRR set up wireless internet service its Penn Station waiting area.
According to Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology at Stony Brook University, wireless internet train services are springing up around the world. The service has become routine in airports and coffee shops, and is even appearing on airplanes, but commuter trains have taken longer to adapt. Almost every large train company has trialed or launched wireless internet services for passengers.
Already in the United States, mass transit systems in Texas, California and even Utah have wireless networks up and running. In 2009, new services will appear in India, Japan, Korea, Norway and Finland to add to those already up and running in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the US.
Schumer today wrote a personal letter to Ms. Williams asking her to work to have wireless internet service up and running before the end of the year, saying "This is a nobrainer for the MTA. It's great for passengers, it's great for the MTA, and will help bring Long Island in to the 21 st century."
Schumer was joined by wireless internet experts from Stony Brook University.
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