Sunday , January 17 2021

Free Wi-Fi access to TransLink, SkyTrain and SeaBus buses

Wireless access to the Internet will be available free of charge through the TransLink transit system from 2020.

Francis Georgian / PNG

Within one year, TransLink customers will have access to free wireless internet during their travel.

On Wednesday, the regional transit body announced it had a partnership with Shaw to offer the service to SkyTrain, SeaBuses and buses.

"This will have a tremendous impact on our customers' experience," said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. "They will be able to surf, run, connect with their family and friends, and do their work on their journeys."

Desmond said Wi-Fi would be free of charge for TransLink or its customers. Under the agreement, Shaw will install and operate the system and will be available to everyone, even if they are not Shaw customers. The deal is the first of its kind in Canada.

From 2016, there is free Wi-Fi at SeaBus terminals and SeaBuses through a similar Shaw agreement.

Asked whether users will have to go through ads to access the wireless internet, Desmond said it was an opportunity.

"All operational details for the next number of months will be out – this may be part of the package, but we need to see how it will happen," he said.

TransLink and Shaw will work on the design of the system and plan to start testing in 2019 as customers can access Wi-Fi in 2020. TransLink expects the entire network to be completed by 2025. Rollout will start with SkyTrain and buses.

Ultimately, the plan is to have Wi-Fi for all types of transit, including HandyDart, West Coast Express and shuttle services.

Guy Axester, TransLink Program and Partner Director, said that despite the limited testing of SeaBus and six buses, it would take four or five years to complete the system as it has over 2000 vehicles and their equipment with appropriate equipment will be "incredible complicated ".

"What we do not want to do is that we do not want to run 2,000 moving cars and find that we have to pull them back into the landfill and try something different," said Auster. "That's why it's going to be a bit, we want to do it for the first time.

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