CP photo by Ryan Deto
Rich Fitzgerald at Steel Plaza station in Downtown Pittsburgh
Light-rail riders rejoice. Waiting underground for the T will no longer include the frustration of no signal, and being unable to check your smartphone or mobile device every two minutes to see if your Facebook feed has changed.
Starting Aug. 28, seven Port Authority of Allegheny County
light-rail stations will provide complimentary Wi-Fi, thanks to a partnership with internet-provider Comcast Xfinity. The stations to offer Wi-Fi are: Station Square, on the South Side; Allegheny and North Shore, on the North Side; and First Avenue, Steel Plaza, Wood Street and Gateway, all Downtown.
“This is part of continuous efforts improve our transit system
,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald at an Aug. 28 press conference. “[The Port Authority] continues to be connected and not be out of touch with what riders want.”
Port Authority Interim CEO David Donahoe said this technological improvement
is necessary, in order to keep up with public-transit competitors. “Today we are in competition with driving, ride-hailing, and biking,” said Donahoe. “No longer do we just say, 'We are here and you have to ride us.’”
The Wi-Fi is public and open to everyone. Users just need to connect to the Xfinity Wi-Fi on their device, and then they will be prompted to register an account with Xfinity. (Current Comcast Xfinity customers can use their username and password to login.)
Comcast Xfinity spokesperson Bob Grove said Pittsburgh joins Boston, New York City and southern New Jersey as the only regions to offer free, public Wi-Fi at transit stops. Grove noted that Comcast Xfinity is considering expanding the service.
The Wi-Fi comes at no cost to Port Authority.