BART Says: We Can (or Want to) Do Wireless!

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With all the talks of Government 2.0 lately, we haven’t talked about those who are embracing it in a meaningful (and useful) way. Peter Corbett and iStrategyLabs could be lauded for spearheading Apps for Democracy, a contest that brought Web innovation to the District with apps like iPark. Certainly, there are plenty of folks in the private sector chomping at the bit to do something useful for the government.

imagesBut shouldn’t we laud the governments that are actually listening to the public and trying their hardest to adjust?

Organizations like the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) who just posted a survey for Bay Area riders looking to understand the wireless needs of their customers. In other words, they are listening. It, of course, remains to be seen if they will follow through.

Wireless technologies (notably WiFi) are amazingly absent in mass transit. As far as I know, no US-based system has incorporated things like free (or even paid) wireless in their trains or buses (cannot support this with evidence, so I’m happy to be proven wrong).

Here in the District, Metrorail has wireless carrier access – if your wireless carrier is Verizon Wireless. In the Bay Area, iPhones rule the day and though I don’t live there enough to know if AT&T works underground there, I can say that giving the tech-heavy Silicon Valley access to their mobile devices will help bring along ridership. Ridership means fewer carbon emissions from fewer cars and a bonus to traffic. (We all know that Scoble is surfing the web on his iPhone while driving. Wouldn’t it be better if her used the train instead? ;)

Comments

  1. John delfel says

    Bart has been installing wireless (wifi) for years – contact Dirk Peters in the televimmunications Revenue Group -email is: dpeter1@Bart.gov for more details.

    I used to work there.

    John Delfel

  2. says

    I ride BART every day and can confirm that no, AT&T gets no love underground. You can occasionally pick up a bar if you’re still in the station, but as soon as the train even thinks about a tunnel, that signal is gone.

    I hope BART gets its act together soon (and brings the rest of the public transit system with it) because I agree that it’s silly not to have free (or cheap) wi-fi on every form of public transportation, both to increase ridership, and to increase the happiness of all the choose to use the system.

  3. says

    BART works with GovDelivery, a client of ours that focuses on opt-in email and RSS subscriptions from government agencies to residents. It’s good to see how GovDelivery’s being used to good effect by BART.