Fifteen months after the DSTT, ST announced T-Mobile had service in the Beacon Hill Tunnel, though as of Tuesday evening Bruce Englehardt was unable to use it there. AT&T was supposed to launch Monday, but as of Tuesday had run “into technical issues” and was targeting later in the week for data. A voice signal was available Tuesday morning. Verizon should also follow later this week. Though delayed from its original target of late 2017, this meets the mid-2018 target set last November.

As someone who has done most of his transit travel in the internet age, it can be hard to fathom the uncertainty and monotony of riding without an internet connection. While reading a book is a decent substitute for swiping on your phone, the inability to communicate with your appointments, check on the timeliness of transfers, and plan trips on the fly seems hard to live without. Those things were all possible even with an interruption at the Beacon Hill tunnel, but now they require a little less anticipation.

8 Replies to “Beacon Hill Tunnel Now Has Cell Service”

  1. I rather enjoyed the experience of having a rider chatting loudly on his cell phone on Link, only to lose their connection and hear them say “Hello? Hello? Are you there?” in bewilderment! Talking loudly on ones cell phone is a real irritation to nearby riders — and witnessing the dropped call experience was poetic justification!.

  2. I have a smartphone that I use once or twice a week for phone calls. Every day or two I use it to read STB and the Seattle Times, consult One Bus Away, or look up something in Wikipedia, and that’s about it. Of these, only One Bus Away is essential and urgent, and that’s mainly because most bus stops and train stations don’t have real-time displays. If they did, I wouldn’t need it. So I more or less do what I did in 2000, with a few variations, but nothing that requires that I must have a signal in the Beacon Hill tunnel or DSTT because I can’t wait a few minutes to return to the surface.

    1. Being able to see about service disruptions or check One Bus Away while waiting for train will be very handy. Plus if there is a full train or disruption OBA makes it easy to see if there’s a 36 pulling up soon 150 feet above you.

      Now if they can just reprogram the elevators to have two wait at the top and two at the bottom instead of all dwelling at the midpoint I’d be a very happy tunnel user.

      1. I don’t like the elevator button pushing logic. The elevator is often full now and the doors close. Before it leaves, someone pushes the button outside and the doors open again. and again…. Someone yells “Don’t push the button”. Someone outside the elevator yells “I didn’t”. Almost daily occurrence that should be easily solved in our 2018 world. Can’t the elevators know a train is approaching and have at least 2 waiting open on the bottom? No need to push a button…

  3. Martin, I’d noticed a long time ago that attitude to electronic communication, like preferences in transit equipment, are based on experience, events, and ideas at different times in our lives.

    In 1968, with increasing popular dislike of a very deserving war resulting in real threats to freedom from justly-beleaguered authority, many Viet Nam war opponents paid much attention to George Orwell’s 1948 novel called “1984”.

    When every single citizen knew that their every word was transmitted by Philco tube radios to the minions of “Big Brother.” Who was also “Watching You”. Through TV screens still fifty years away from existence. Anybody remember Bill Murray’s control console in “Ed Wood?”

    Though likely Orwell did not have a single Little Sister, whose signature threat “I’m gonna tell on you!” made their Big Brothers grade-school-long prey to bullies because they were scared too do anything wrong.

    So it’s strange that the highly publicized birth of communications equipment that made Big Brother look like a deaf old uncle, instead of suppressing rebellion, absolutely exploded universal target-hood that blew out all the bandwidth of every sneak and snitch in jackboots. Same time boot jacks went out when everybody got Desert Boots.

    Now, every single piece of crime news starts with the perpetrator describing their whole crime, including motive, time, place, accomplices, and parking-stripe details of the crime scene a day and a half before they even do it. Definitely helps with Terror’s PR budget.

    But even worse, every attempt to protect young people’ most intimate privacy, and their parents’ bank account, from the most dangerous intrusion, can result in a First Amendment lawsuit for infringing their freedom of speech.

    So maybe surveillance is justifiably less feared because by now screen contents are about as exciting to average tyranny-temp as back issues of The Stranger. Resulting camera shift to the Greyhound men’s room only improves things for awhile. After which if the secret room has no window, sledge and crowbar are precision enough to install one. Out of which Big Brother’s Sony is first flying object.

    For me, I’d take over every camera except the Stranger in return for two things: a razor-sharp paint scraper to un “wrap” my bus window. And ending the need to wear unconnected ear-plugs to postpone my proctology lecture ‘tiI I get to UW Hospital for my class.

    Those purple bathroom-bearing streamliners in Southern Sweden also have a quiet room at the end of every coach. Artic trailer and LINK segment should work too. Since Greyhound has had toilets for fifty years…..hey, doesn’t the 574 run Greyhound MCI’s?


  4. I think this is a great upgrade and I am greatful for it. I just wish that people would voluntarily turn off their phone once in a while. When I was a kid, I talked to many people on the bus. I got to know them well. One of my best friends is someone that I first talked to on the 43 to Ballard. It is now the 44. I met him in 1990. We just hung out 3 weeks ago. When I say hi to people on the bus or the train now, I am usually looked at as a freak. They are correct about me being a freak, but not for that reason. Usually only tourists will talk. I was never part of the growing Seattle Freeze. It did not exist when I grew up. Not sure exactly how it started, but smart phones have made it worse. I am still happy for the upgrade. In 2021 the majority of my trip will be underground, and I like to read. If there ever was a time to have interesting conversations about differing views about Seattle, this would be that time. Face to face not through Twitter. Now they need to start broadcasting music in the trains. Monday: Rap. Tuesday: Grunge. Wednesday: Classical. Thursday: 80’s. Friday: Jazz. Weekends: Live sports. February 29th: Country. Just a thought. Not a serious one.

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