Wi-fi on Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road

The New York Post this morning reports that wi-fi may be coming to Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road. The MTA is looking for developers to submit plans detailing how the service would be implemented and maintained. The plans include wi-fi in Grand Central Terminal, as well as Penn Station. The service must include a 24-hour help desk for commuters, and the service can’t be spotty at any part during the trip. Each company that submits a plan will detail whether the service will be free, or they intend to charge commuters. Plans must be submitted by May 17th. The MTA is possibly looking for this service to be installed by the end of the year.


“Real” online news sources have taught me that readers are stupid and require pictures. Often hilariously stupid and almost irrelevant pictures. Perhaps I can purchase one of these for riding on the train. That may be a step up from Crazy Cat Girl to Complete Crazy Nut Job.

Do me a favor though, and don’t tell my boss. The Post talked to a wonderful woman named Anna Greatbach, who said, “It’ll give me a great chance to keep in touch with… my employer on the way to work. That can be a huge advantage to businesses… when employees can be working for them outside the office.” Don’t give them any ideas!

I certainly would use the service if it existed… even if they charged a small fee. (Though of course it would be much better if it were free). This comes after Amtrak announced not too long ago that Acela trains would be having wi-fi. Amtrak’s wi-fi would be free, at least during the “introductory” period. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) also offers wi-fi on their commuter trains, and that service is free. Hopefully those free services will serve as a precedent, and the MTA’s wi-fi will also be free. The only bad thing I predict about this wi-fi? I’d probably never again read a book on the train. And if you could play WoW on this wi-fi, I have a co-worker that would without a doubt begin riding the train again…

7 thoughts on “Wi-fi on Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road

  1. This falls into the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category, in my book. I just recently bought a netbook, so I am already paying for my own Wi-Fi access. If they ever do get around to doing this (not holding my breath) I am sure it will not be free. Anywa, I can’t reach the internet for 10 minutes of my commute each way, since there is no reception in the tunnel/on the platform – so that’s one thing they need to work on if they implement this. And you’re right. I haven’t read any books since getting the netbook.

    1. Yeah, the article totally forgets the people that do pay for Wi-fi access, since they mention the only people on the trains online are using smartphones. I debated whether I should buy wi-fi too, but ended up not doing it. I used to be able to get wifi in WP from Optimum’s access points at the stations, but for some reason I think the one in WP stopped working. I can connect everywhere else though, just obviously not during the train ride.

      But you’re right, *IF* it ever happens, it probably wont be free. But perhaps it will be cheaper for those that currently pay elsewhere for wi-fi. Though would you end up switching services if it ended up coming to Metro-North?

  2. Thanks for reminding me – the ‘free wifi’ worked for me on the White Plains platform once. ONCE. Many, many months ago. Before I had my netbook, I used to try to use it from my iPod Touch to check my email and Tweet but eventually gave up. As for my netbook WiFi, I am locked into a two year contract, so I am not likely to cancel that and face the fees. Besides, I use it plenty of other places, not just Metro North. I definitely get my money’s worth.

    1. Yeah, I figured that you could use the wifi you have on the bus and such, so it works out for you. And especially if you get cancellation fees, I’d definitely not be switching until that runs out.

      Considering that you mentioned you had issues connecting to that access point in WP, I figured I’d send a message to Optimum and mention it. I don’t have high hopes for getting any sort of response from them though. Tech support with cable companies always seems like an absolute nightmare.

  3. I’d love to hear what they say. Their reply may even be blog-worthy. If not that awesome, I’d still like to know if/when they reply. If it does start working on the platform it would be nice to know I could quickly use my iPod and not have to crack open my netbook and wait for it to start up and get connected. Thanks for doing that!

  4. Free wi-fi would of course be nice, but the truth is it’s not going to be free and Wi-Fi is passe in moving targets on land, planes and ships out of range of terrestrial networks are of course a special case.

    3G and soon to be 4G and Wi-Max offer the total coverage we want, excepting the cemetery north of Valhalla and the dreaded tunnel into GCT already and can be used by Blackberry’s, iPhones, Laptops, Kindles, Nooks etc. etc.

    I would MUCH rather Metro-North worked with the cellular carriers to fix the remaining black spots rather than trying to roll out a completely new service that no one will really pay for.

    Cheers, Dan

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