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Twin Cities piloting Wi-Fi on transport routes

Metro Transit to add express buses to free Wi-Fi program

The Twin Cities in Minnesota will soon be a testbed for Wi-Fi on transit routes. Metro Transit in the cities is making free Wi-Fi available on selected urban and local express routes.

The program, which begins this month, will be available on 57 motor coach express buses, as well as 10 rotating urban routes.

“Our riders have been asking for it,” spokesman Howie Padilla said. “We’ll see how the riders embrace it.”

According to Padilla, riders will be able to simply connect their devices to TransitWi-Fi. All they have to do is agree to the terms and they will immediately have access to the Internet. Streaming will not be available, however.

Metro Transit began offering free Wi-Fi on its rail line back in September 2013 and joins Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, SouthWest Transit and Plymouth Transit in offering the service.

The routes offering the Wi-Fi will include  Blaine, Columbus, Coon Rapids, East Bethel, Fridley, Forest Lake, Ham Lake, Lakeville, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Officials will monitor the Wi-Fi usage to see if it makes financial sense to offer it on all routes. They hope a boost in ridership will counteract the cost of the implementation.

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