I am really late on this, but Metro has rolled out Wi-Fi to more buses in the Seattle Area. The 255, 644, 197 and selected trips on the 952 have Wi-Fi. Sound Transit has Wi-Fi on the selected 545 and the Everett-Seattle Sounder Commuter rail. The 545 is my route so I am really happy about the service.

Metro has teamed up with Sprint Cellular and Junxion, Inc., a Seattle-based mobile connection provider, to offer Wi-Fi service on 48 buses serving the four transit routes. (Wi-Fi service on the Route 952 will be limited to the last trip in the morning and afternoon.) The Junxion boxes have been outfitted with a cellular air card allowing passengers to use their laptop computers or Wi-Fi-enabled devices to access the Internet.

The Wi-Fi is basically like mobile phone wi-fi, so it switches towers as you travel. This works fine for surfing the web or checking email, because these protocols are stateless, meaning the data is transmitted and the connection is terminated. It doesn’t work as well for something that requires a persistant connection, such as remote desktop or ssh, but you’re on the bus what can you expect! And only geeks like me use those things anyway.

Good work Metro and Sound Transit, Wi-Fi is great and I wish you would roll it out to every bus.

5 Replies to “More Wi-Fi for Buses!”

  1. One day my children will look back on this post and wonder what people did on buses before they all had Internet connections. They certainly don’t talk to each other very much now.

    The people on this bus are reading books, fondling their music players and dozing against the windows. Even staring out across the lake beats focusing on your predecessors brake lights.

    I love commuting by bus.

    (Posted from the 255 headed to Seattle)

  2. The proliferation of the iPhone and iPod Touch means thousands of new WiFi devices in the hands of bus riders. It seems to me like a good time to start widespread deployment of WiFi on all the major Metro bus routes.

    I ride either the 21 or 54 (or both) every day between deepest West Seattle, downtown, belltown, Lower Queen Anne and Ballard, and I always look (in vain) for the “Wifi Bus” sign plastered on the ceiling. It’s happened on such rare occasions, I really want and will use it.

    Hopefully, this is in the works for the near future…

  3. Yeah, I enjoy using the Wi-Fi on the 255 which I use all the time. If my bus has it, it means I get an hour of doing work or reading websites (I live at the end of the line).

    I have to wonder how much this Free Wi-Fi program is costing the transit agencies? Getting a decent mobile broadband connection isn’t cheap. Metro is facing a revenue shortfall, and they might have to make cuts to programs like this or start charging for the service to recover the cost.

  4. This is a really old post so I’m not sure if anyone will read this, but I’m not sure where else to ask this: I started riding the 545 this week. I’ve been able to connect to the bus access point on 4 rides but I can’t actually get to any websites. No pages will load.

    I noticed that if I connect to the IP address of the gateway then I can load up the access point’s web page. This is really fast and works fine so I know my computer is connecting ok. It seems to be a problem on Sound Transit’s side. Does wi-fi still work on Sound Transit?

  5. I can’t answer for the 545 but Wi-Fi on Metro has been gone since February 2009. They silently discontinued the service without any public notice. Wi-Fi on Sounder still works though.

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