Winnipeg Transit is piloting a project to offer free Wi-Fi onboard 12 of its buses as part of a year-long initiative.
Coming at a cost of $300,000, Wi-Fi will be available on a select number of buses on various routes throughout the city.
“This pilot project is an important step to take to not only improve the quality of the service we provide transit riders, but also improve the overall function of the system,” said Mayor Brian Bowman.
Passengers won’t need to create an account or login to enjoy the service, and can simply connect to WPGTransit on their device and accept the terms and conditions.
Wi-Fi-enabled buses will display signage stating they are connected. Transit tools such as NAVIGO, Telebus and WinnipegTransit.com will indicate Wi-Fi-enabled trips with a Wi-Fi icon.
Critics of the pilot project say offering Wi-Fi is moot, given many people have smartphones with data plans these days, which they can tether to create their own hotspots for laptops and tablets.
Funding for the project came from the 2016 Innovation Capital Fund and has no impact on Winnipeg Transit’s current operating budget.
Transit will later report back to the Standing Policy Committee on Innovation once the test phase concludes.