TransLink to restart free Wi-Fi plans after year-long pandemic delay

·1 min read
TransLink is restarting its rollout of free Wi-Fi throughout its service, after the pandemic forced planners to refocus on health and safety measures throughout the region. (Cory Correia/CBC - image credit)
TransLink is restarting its rollout of free Wi-Fi throughout its service, after the pandemic forced planners to refocus on health and safety measures throughout the region. (Cory Correia/CBC - image credit)

Nearly a year after Translink first promised to begin rolling out free WiFi system-wide, the transit authority says it can finally get the ball rolling again, with an initial offering on just a handful of its buses and trains and at stations.

In a statement Tuesday, the public transit provider said the rollout will restart this year, initially on just six RapidBuses and three SkyTrains, including Edmonds Station and the Carvolth Exchange bus loop.

Tuesday's statement appears to be a re-announcement of a 2018 promise of system-wide WiFi access, which it had originally pledged would begin rolling out in 2020, with a 2025 completion date.

In an email following up on a CBC inquiry, the transit authority said the delay was caused by the pandemic which it said forced planners to shift focus to ensure safe operations and travel throughout the region.

"Now that ridership is recovering, we're very excited to bring back projects like our WiFi partnership with Shaw and we look forward to continuing the installation of WiFi on more transit vehicles over time," it said in the email.

TransLink says the system should be fully in place by 2026, and will be accessible by all its customers, including those who aren't Shaw customers.

Posters and signage will be on display on vehicles and at transit hubs providing WiFi, it said, to provide clear instructions on how to connect to the service while riding transit.

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