MARTA, or the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, is the eight largest rapid transit system in the US, and it is becoming a much more attractive option — with Wi-Fi access granted to passengers. A collaboration will very soon solidify a contract with a provider, and MARTA will install cell phone and Wi-Fi access in its stations and tunnels. AJC.com provides some details:
“Cool, cool, cool, cool, in every way,” is how MARTA CEO Keith Parker described the deal. “We were assuming it would cost us several million dollars a year. And instead, our IT was able to pull together with the finance and procurement group to structure a deal that has the provider paying us for the privilege.”
That’s the internet for you. People want to be connected and they want to be connected everywhere. Communication and rewards are the way of the online world. Plans are that the six-month pilot project starts in January. Focusing on three stations — Five Points, Peachtree Center and Georgia Dome/Georgia World Congress Center and inside a tunnel that connects them. Projected is that all 38 stations would feature cellular connectivity and Wi-Fi access by July 2018. And yes, this $25 million system is no cost to MARTA. The provider will design, install and maintain the service.
Yes, the transit agency will only enjoy and profit from the collaboration! What a nice surprise.
According to AJC.com, “MARTA would get $1 million up front by signing the contract prior to construction.” Following this, as the vendor signs up cellular carriers, MARTA will find a 55% profit share for the first 10 years and 60% for the next decade.
“The profit-sharing agreement could bring in as much as $10 million in revenue to MARTA in the first decade and almost double that amount in years 11 through 20, according to the vendor’s estimates. However, MARTA officials acknowledge those projections may be rosy and said they aren’t counting on getting that large of a return.”
MARTA Chief Information Officer Ming Hsi recently presented details of the preferred vendor agreement to its board.
A recent article on Gas2 notes another large mass transit has added WiFi to entice and better satisfy riders. “As ridership continues to increase year after year, Amtrak is looking to please existing travelers and entice new travelers to ride the rails by offering faster Wi-Fi on passenger trains,” Andrew Meggison writes in “High-Speed Wi-Fi For Amtrak Trains!” It seems this should be the norm, no?
If you do own a phone and choose to ride mass transit as much as possible, make sure you also catch this Planetsave article: “This App Could Revolutionize Public Transit.” Half the trouble with mass transit is knowing where and when a transit vehicle can pick you up. This app helps a lot with that.
Time after time, APTA reminds us that savings flourish choosing public transit for one’s commute. Quick jaunts to and from the transit stop also keep us in shape without a gym fee. Exercise, and fiscal savings — clear thinking.
Image Credit: train Wi-Fi user, via Shutterstock