TransLink to offer free Wi-Fi to transit users starting in 2020

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TransLink will bring free wireless internet to Metro Vancouver's transit system. But as Sarah MacDonald reports, the roll-out won't be completed anytime soon – Dec 13, 2018

Wi-Fi will be coming to transit users in Metro Vancouver, making TransLink the first transit authority in Canada to offer free Wi-Fi to customers.

TransLink and Shaw Communications intend to run trials in 2019, with deployment starting in 2020. It is expected that the entire network will be complete by 2025, and will be available on buses, Skytrain and SeaBus.

“We have half-a-million people ride our system every day, and when we ask them what they’d like to see on transit, Wi-Fi is one of the most frequent requests,” Kevin Desmond, TransLink CEO, said in a press release.

TransLink and Shaw have come to the agreement that the Wi-Fi enhancements will come at zero cost for TransLink, customers and taxpayers. Shaw will install and operate the Wi-Fi system, similar to the current agreement they have for free Wi-Fi at SeaBus terminals and on SeaBus ferries.

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In a press release, Ty Speer, Tourism Vancouver president and CEO, said that the Wi-Fi expansion on transit systems will enhance the experience for tourists, and in turn, will be a tool to manage tourism in Metro Vancouver.

“Translink and Shaw’s commitment to expand Wi-Fi across the transit system will enhance the personalized visitor experience for many travelers to our region who use public transit,” Speer said. “As we look to develop Vancouver into the most digitally connected city for visitors, the insights we’ll gain from the Wi-Fi network will be an important tool to help us effectively manage tourism in our destination.”

In the future, TransLink aims to provide Wi-Fi on all modes of public transit including HandyDART, West Coast Express and community shuttle buses.

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