The Toronto Transit Commission has begun a pilot project that will see free Wi-Fi on two bus routes that primarily service neighbourhood improvement areas.
As of Monday, riders who travel on the 35 Jane route will have access to the new trial service. The 102 Markham Road route will also see Wi-Fi-enabled buses, but not until some time in June.
Officials said the six-month pilot project is aimed at providing internet access to underserved parts of the city.
“The pandemic has further demonstrated the importance of having access to the internet and how it can make the lives of residents easier,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement on Monday.
Riders will only be able to do low-bandwidth activities during the pilot project, such as view websites, check email and social media. The initial internet connection won’t allow for movies or TV shows to be streamed, or allow for large files to be downloaded.
TTC staff will look at different Wi-Fi service models and review the input from riders before issuing a RFP to roll out the network to all buses and streetcars. Subway stations became Wi-Fi-enabled in 2018.
Officials noted that while service is in place for the 35 Jane and 102 Markham Road routes, riders on different routes could be on buses that have Wi-Fi (each bus will have decals confirming if the wireless network is on board) depending on the deployment of vehicles.