You can get Wi-Fi on airplanes and Amtrak trains. Now, NY1 has learned that the MTA finally has begun testing bringing Wi-Fi service to subway cars. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
In our wired world, much of the city's sprawling subway system is maddeningly offline. Riders can occasionally catch a signal as their trains rumble beneath the streets, but most of the time, the internet is out of reach.
"I think they should improve the system so you can have the Wi-Fi inside," said one commuter.
But now, the MTA has begun testing whether to fully enter the internet age, installing Wi-Fi on four cars along the E line.
The test, though, is being done on the sly. There are no signs announcing the service. It came as a surprise when NY1 told straphangers in the test cars.
"I don't even know if it's on, though. How do you get it?" said one commuter.
The test was quietly disclosed in a recent MTA notice to subway employees. An agency spokesman confirmed the test to NY1, saying the study is in its very early stages.
That was clear when NY1 rode in one of the test cars. The signal wasn't all there.
"It's not working. Only on the platforms," said one commuter.
Asked why riders are not being told about the testing, the MTA said the study is just getting off the ground.
Riders NY1 spoke to did not seem to mind. They are just excited about the possibility of being able to surf the web, send emails and Snapchat away while traveling underground.
"I think it's a wonderful thing because people use cellphones, they use all types of different things to get Wi-Fi," said one commuter.
"We're always on our cellphones, we're always playing music or on Instagram. We like to scroll while we're on the train. I think it will be useful," said another.
But first things first. The MTA is still wiring stations for internet and cellphone service, a job that it expects to complete by the end of next year.
There's no timetable for when, or if, service in the tunnels or on the trains will extend beyond this round of testing.
According to the MTA employee notice, the Wi-Fi testing on the four subway cars will continue through June 7.