MTA Cell Service and Wi-Fi Get the Green Light (Again)


The MTA has finally gotten their act together two years after the approval to implement cell phone service and Wi-Fi on subways, potentially doubling everyone’s quota of what they would probably rather not see or hear on their morning commute. Transit Wireless, the company heading the project, got the “notice to proceed” just last week. The MTA could not comment on when the project would be completed.

Once complete, however, riders will have cell-phone service on platforms, mezzanines, and other parts of stations. But for the most part, there won’t be on-board service between station stops, so you can still use the “I was trapped on the subway!” excuse when late for work or deliberately ignoring an important phone call.

There are some obviously good things about this new service: Emergencies can be more quickly attended to, videos of ridiculous subway buskers can be even more immediately downloaded to the Internet, your Facebook friends will know where you are always. But…

Personally, I’ll miss the days of phone and computer-free transit service. My work commute in the past has been one of pleasant meditation, despite buskers and tourists’ conversations. I don’t know that I’ll be able to afford the same luxury with some dude’s bionic Mexican Hat Dance ringtone echoing through the station.

So, in an attempt to maintain my current blissful commute, let’s lay out some guidelines for once this show finally gets on the road.

1. For the love of God, silence your cell phone — Nobody wants to listen to your washed-out Top 40 Hi-Fi Ringer. Ever.

2. Text whenever possible — In fact, just don’t use your cell for phone calls at all, except in case of emergency. It’s close quarters; it’s crowded. I’d rather not hear the latest in your long-term apartment break-up situation.

3. Or actually — maybe I would. That said, if you are going to have casual convos in the station that everyone has to listen to, at least make them interesting.

4. NSFS (Not Suitable For Subway) — You know how people are always reading your copy of the New Yorker that you paid for over your shoulder? People notice what you’re looking at. Make sure the Web content you’re surfing is appropriate.

5. Earphones for your YouTube videos please — This goes without saying. Funny animal videos are awesome, and definitely suitable for the subway, but the sound of a rabbit eating watermelon may sound a little…off out of context.

What are some others? Surely you have some technology pet peeves you’d rather keep out of your subway station. Sharing is caring.