No Reading Streetsblog on the Bus: LADOT Rejects Wi-Fi for Buses

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In response to a City Council motion by Transportation Committee Chair Wendy Greuel and Councilman Tom LaBonge, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation studied the feasibility of providing Wi-Fi Internet service on Commuter Express Buses.  Their conclusion?  It’s too expensive to pursue right now.

The city estimates that the cost of installing the necessary equipment would be over $500,000, which would be more than enough to cover the cost of the Dodger shuttle for the next three years, with another $1.3 million needed for the first five years of service.   In addition, there was little enthusiasm from riders for the service.  Only 17% of riders who responded to an LADOT survey didn’t already have a Wi-Fi capable device and would use Wi-Fi if it were available on the bus.  Of that small number, over those interested were not willing to pay for that service.

While it would certainly be cool to have Internet provided on buses, LADOT is probably on the right track.  More and more people are able to access the Internet via cell phone, Wi-Fi card or other device.  By the time their contract expired in five years, the technology they provide could be nearly obsolete. 

Photo: Wad/Flickr 

  • John

    Am I the only Metro Rapid commuter who would like to rip those friggin TV monitors down? If I see the Clever Cleaver Brothers, or the same 8 ads for debt counseling again, I might snap.

  • I wonder what it cost for Foothill Transit to put Wi-Fi on their Silver Streak line. I was in the proximity of a Silver Streak (somewhere along 7th, near Olive or Hill) and caught the signal a month or so ago. Until that time, I was unaware of any bus having a router on it. I learned that it was installed over a year ago, in March 2007. http://www.foothilltransit.org/get_to_know_us/history.htm

  • Ed Greenberg

    Wifi on the Commuter Express might make some people happy, but a seat would make more of us happy. Kudos to LADOT for not wasting money on nice-to-haves while essentials are beyond reach. We’re starting to see some newly acquired (older but serviceable) busses on the routes, and a few new drivers, and that’s great. I’d like to see more frequent buses (and thus, more seats) on the overcrowded routes. That would be a good use of a chunk of change.

    Let’s also take a moment for a shout-out to David on the 573, and countless other really good bus drivers, who take us to and from work every day. Keep up the good work.

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