The free WiFi in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel is no more. Readers asked us what happened, so I followed up with Metro and Sound Transit to find out.
“Our networking team reported that the equipment was past its end-of-life and was expected to be taken down after March 23rd when Metro exited the tunnel,” said Metro’s Jeff Switzer. “Unfortunately, an equipment failure on March 15th escalated the timeline by a week.”
Sound Transit is running the show now, but don’t expect the wifi to get switched back on. “The establishment of cellular and broadband data service throughout all our tunnels made it obsolete,” according to Sound Transit’s Geoff Patrick.
Us old folks will remember the bad old days of… err, 2015… when there was zero communication with the outside world: no real-time arrival signs, no internet, very little communication from the PA system. You’d have no idea of your bus or train was 2 minutes away or 20 without walking back up to the surface like a sucker. Good times.
Free public wifi, ubiquitous just a few years ago, unfortunately seems to be on the wane. Even deep underground systems like the Tube are getting cell service, and more and more people have generous data plans. Meanwhile, the fear of hacking and malware makes joining an unsecured hotspot a dangerous proposition.