Four subway stations in Manhattan will be equipped with Wi-Fi and cell phone service beginning next Tuesday, and though commuters were already applauding news of the change Thursday, MTA officials said it could take up to four years to connect the rest of the subway system. NY1’s Tetiana Anderson filed the following report.
Talking, texting or tweeting on the streets of the city is no problem, but hit the stairs down to the subway station and service shuts down.
"You lose everyone when you get down here, and it's just very annoying," said one commuter.
Starting on Tuesday, that will all change.
As part of a pilot program, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials say Transit Wireless will bring service to four subway stations in Manhattan.
"I think it's great ‘cause we never had that before," said a straphanger.
Between next week and the end of the year, subway riders will be able to use their phones on platforms at Eighth Avenue and 23rd Street and at 14th Street and Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Avenues.
MTA officials said the project will cost up to $200 million. Transit Wireless is covering the cost and plans to make money by charging service providers a fee.
Official say AT&T and T-Mobile have already signed up.
Once the plan goes into effect, don't expect to stay connected once the train has left the station. Service is only good on the platform, although there may be some exceptions if stations are close to each other.
"That is still helpful as long as I don't have to go outside and pay to get back in," said one commuter.
"Any improvement is better than it is now," said another.
If the idea works, MTA officials say Transit Wireless will have four years to connect the rest of the subway system.