The test period will start in April on two trains and four buses.
GO Transit riders’ commutes are about to improve, as Metrolinx announced it will begin testing Wi-Fi on its vehicles this spring.
At a press conference at Union Station Wednesday, Transportation Minister Kathryn McGarry and Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster said that Wi-Fi will be installed on two GO trains and four buses in April in order to gauge service quality and solicit feedback from customers.
Metrolinx, the Crown corporation that operates GO, intends to eventually deploy Wi-Fi across its train and bus fleet. The test period will last at least two months and cost $1.5 million. Verster said most of the cost will be for equipping the vehicles with Wi-Fi hardware.
“We know people want to use Wi-Fi services when they travel,” said McGarry, who noted that free Wi-Fi on the Union Pearson Express is extremely popular with riders.
“Access to the internet is a vital part of our daily lives. Testing Wi-Fi provides the opportunity to ensure connectivity and quality service is provided, as we know that’s what our customers expect and deserve.”
Wi-Fi service is already installed at a majority of GO stations.
During the test phase, two different providers will operate Wi-Fi on one train and two buses each, after which Metrolinx will select a provider.
The test trains won’t run on any particular routes, but the Wi-Fi-enabled buses will be deployed on routes more heavily used by students, according to Metrolinx. All of the Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles will be marked on the outside.
Verster said providing Wi-Fi is an important part in getting people to use alternatives to their cars.
“The more attractive our services are, the more appealing it is to use transit, and that’s just good for transit overall,” he said.
GO Transit also plans to launch a new website next month that Metrolinx says will include an improved trip planner and updated fare calculator.