Wi-Fi Headed for Metro

No more searching for bars as you rail it beneath the city.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014  |  Updated 8:41 AM PDT
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Wi-Fi Headed for Metro

Getty Images

Need to send an email while riding the Red or Purple Lines? That's ahead, Metro rider. (Photo by J. Emilio Flores/Getty Images)

People-watching, reading a novel, and daydreaming have long been some of the idler pleasures of riding a train.

But in recent years checking your phone's bars, in the hope that you might send a quick text or work email, has become nearly as common, and almost entirely fruitless: A subterranean ride does not lend itself to signal-finding.

That may change in the years to come, as the "Metro Board will be considering a contract this month that would bring cell phone and wi-fi service to the subway service of Los Angeles," says a report released on Feb. 20.

"(T)he public areas of the Red and Purple lines -- i.e. the station areas -- and the underground portions of the Blue, Expo, and Gold lines" would receive the cell service.

A "dual purpose" is named for this development: Increased safety and ability to hail the police, and the joining-up of new Metro riders "who want to be online during their commute or public transit trip."

The board will take on the proposal at its Friday, Feb. 28 meeting.

Possible challenges? Installing the equipment in the tunnels won't be nearly as easy as sending a text; trains, of course, pass through, and they'll need to be worked around.

Also? Comments on the Metro page are already debating phone use on the trains and pondering a "text only" rule. It's not a new discussion in the world of the rails, for sure, so bet it'll be addressed in the coming months.

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