Voice, text and data service for AT&T and T-Mobile customers has now become available at some underground New York City subway stations, the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced Tuesday.
Bringing wireless service into our subway system is the latest milestone in the MTA's effort to use technology to improve the service we provide for our customer, said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Wilder in a statement. Whether you're checking your email, calling your kids or looking for emergency assistance, wireless service will bring the conveniences we're used to through our lives into the subway system.
Six underground stations around the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan will have the service. Transit Wireless, the contractor responsible for installing the service, expects the other 271 stations to have the service within the next four years, the statement said. Currently, the company is working on the next 30 stations, including the highly-visited Times Square, Herald Square and Columbus Circle Stations.
Estimates put the cost of the project at approximately $200 million, funded completely by Transit Wireless and the carriers. The MTA said that once the project is complete, the contractor will pay the agency a minimum of $3.3 million annually in upkeep costs.
Although only AT&T and T-Mobile phones will work at first, the MTA told the New York Post that they expect to have other carriers come on board to the plan.
The reactions to the announcement were mixed.
It's pretty cool, pretty awesome, Bernie Delberice, a 22-year old college student from Brooklyn, told the New York Daily News. You can check your email, check your updates. You can be productive while waiting for the train.
However, not everyone is thrilled with the new service.
It's one of the last places you can't use your cellphone, Soule Golden, 28, told the Daily News. It's annoying to having to listen to everyone talking on their cellphones all the time.