This is according to the private consortium Transit Wireless who is responsible for signing up at least one major carrier to provide service as part of the plan to wire subway station platforms. Transit Wireless plans on installing cell phone & WiFi equipment in a manner that would enable the MTA to have it extend into tunnels if they so choose. According to Jerome Page of the MTA Deputy Counsel, some service might leak into tunnels when stations are wired up.
The idea of extending cell phone service into tunnels is one that is supported by some members of the city council’s technology & transportation committees. They feel that the possible annoyance would be worth it in terms of the service that will be available. I happen to agree with Flushing Democrat John Liu who happens to be the chairman of the council’s Transportation Committee when he said: “A subway train is not a place you go for quiet and tranquility.”
Some politicians have expressed concerns about cell phone & WiFi service being available on platforms or inside tunnels. Here are some of their comments:
Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder – “I hope and pray and don’t expect thousands of New Yorkers walking off the platform and onto the tracks.”
Manhattan Democrat Gail Brewer – “You might as well put some benches and chairs and tables and so on and have a real hotspot and maybe coffee.”
First off I think comments like the ones posted above are clear illustrations of overreacting! I highly doubt we will ever see thousands of people, even hundreds of people walking off of platforms by accident due to being on a cell phone. I sincerely doubt we will ever hear about that happening 10 times much less thousands!
I also have to laugh at Gail’s comments about people setting up their office inside a subway station. Most people want to spend as little time in a station as possible. Do you really think enabling cell & WiFi service will change that? Most people find stations to be filthy from their look to their smell. Many also feel they are not the safest place to be. Do you really think the cell phone & WiFi generation will magically ignore those feelings for service they can already get in nicer establishments like Bryant Park or Starbucks? I highly doubt you will ever see even a small sample of people setting up shop in a subway station.
Do opponents of this technology not understand how this is a win win situation for everyone? The installation of this technology will help people stay in touch when they are in the system especially considering over half of the stations are underground. Also how can one overlook the financial windfall the MTA would get out of the deal? No one should ever object a proposal that helps straphangers out, the MTA in terms of not having to spend a penny, & the bonus fact of the MTA earning revenue from the deal!
I do understand that the installation of this technology will cause some service disruptions & delays. However this is one that people should take for the team as it benefits us as a whole in the long run!