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MTA Rolls Out New Tech Buses

Talia: I'm Talia Talia Carrero and you're listening to a Building for the Future podcast on TransitTrax, New York City Transit's podcast service.

Working to reshape the way you think about your bus ride, the MTA has begun equipping buses with Wi-Fi capability and USB ports. You will now have the ability to access the internet without needing to find a hotspot and power up your personal device while you are on the go.

Tony Laidig is the Systems Engineering Manager for MTA buses.

Tony: It's something that is looked upon favorably by our customers. We have some polling that suggests that it is one of the things that people like to see on buses.

Talia: So what are the advantages being able to access the internet during your morning commute?

Tony: One of the biggest advantages is if a customer has a tablet and they don't have cellular service for that tablet then they get Wi-Fi on that tablet when they’re on the bus. Another advantage is that you don’t have to use up the megs or your gigs on your plan while you’re riding.

Talia: Now that we have the technology, what exactly is Wi-Fi?

John Rainer, the Sales Director for Cradlepoint, explains.

John: Wi-Fi is the ability to have internet connectivity regardless of where you are.

So, the passenger or the user has the ability to connect from his laptop or mobile device or tablet to the Wi-Fi within the bus and then has network access outbound so it’s effectively a mobile hotspot that he is attached to.

Talia: This technology is being retrofitted into existing buses. And, it will be included in all new bus orders.

John: So, there’s actually two sets of wiring from the router on the bus. One is to an antenna that provides the Wi-Fi signal within the bus. The other one is to the roof and that provides connectivity to the cellular as well as GPS, so you can identify the location of the bus at any point in time.

Talia: After using all of that Wi-Fi, the MTA knew that your device would need to be recharged and to help with that, USB ports are being added.

Christopher Dicocco is the General Manager of the Northeastern Bus Rebuilders.

Christopher: This bus we retrofitted the USB ports, Wi-Fi installation, and exterior and interior antennas.

Since the bus was manufactured already and all of the panels were on, all the interior panels needed to come off. We needed to run harnessing from the back of the vehicle all the way to the front and the driver controls. Each individual port has its own wiring system as well as the Wi-Fi routers and antennas.

With these USB ports any location in the vehicle, any seat, really in the vehicle, or even standing up holding on to a hand rail, you’ll be able to charge your iPhone or any kind of cellular device.

Talia: With these new high tech buses joining our fleet, this is a very welcome transportation innovation.

For TransitTrax, I'm Talia Carrero. Thanks for listening and thanks for riding with New York City Transit.