No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Free WiFi may be coming to Metro Vancouver bus and SkyTrain riders, but transit users in Abbotsford and other cities in the Fraser Valley and the Interior will have to wait for the service.

On Wednesday, TransLink announced free WiFi would be installed on all its vehicles by 2020 through a partnership with Shaw. The move will be paid entirely for by Shaw.

There are no current plans for free WiFi on buses in communities served by BC Transit, a spokesperson told The Abbotsford News, but officials will be watching and learning from Translink’s move.

BC Transit’s Jonathan Dyck said officials will be watching the WiFi rollout “to determine if it is feasible within BC Transit communities.”

BC Transit operates dozens of systems around the province, including those in the Central Fraser Valley, Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Kamloops, Kelowna and Victoria.

Its big upcoming technology project involves the introduction of “NextRide” information at bus stations in seven communities – Nanaimo, Comox Valley, Whistler, Squamish, Kamloops, Kelowna and Victoria. The technology involves real-time arrival signs to inform waiting riders of when the next bus will arrive at major transit exchanges. The second phase will see NextRide technology installed at 25 more systems. Those communities have not been announced. When the technology comes to Abbotsford and Mission will likely be determined by plans to revamp the Central Fraser Valley bus system and relocate and redesign several exchanges.

The next technology beyond that, Dyck said, will be the development of tap-payment technology that would allow riders to use a mobile device to pay upon coming aboard.

RELATED: TransLink will bring free WiFi to buses, SkyTrain and Seabus by 2020

RELATED: Abbotsford eyes eight new buses by 2021


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tolsen@abbynews.com

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