Social media addicts rejoice! The MTA and Transit Wireless announced today that thirty more subway stations are now equipped with wireless voice and data service. Major hubs like Times Square, Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle are now online, joining the six stations in Chelsea that were given WiFi back in 2011. As of now, only T-Mobile and AT &T customers can enjoy the free access, but Verizon and Sprint are in negotiations to participate later this year.
The thirty WiFi-equipped stations are spread evenly across the lines, from 14th Street up to to 86th Street. Aside from being able to check emails while waiting during your commute, the service will also allow for you to receive and make phone calls. Although the calls will lose signal once on the train, you can count on eavesdropping on your neighbor’s loud conversations while waiting on the platform.
But all joking aside, this phone service accessibility is a much-needed safety measure, allowing commuters to call 911 from inside the station if they are the victim of a crime or in need of medical attention. The MTA hopes that riders will feel more safe with this service, but of course this will mean even more phones out and visible, ready to be plucked by iPhone thieves.
The entire project will cost around $200 million, and will be paid for by Transit Wireless and the carriers, not the MTA. They hope to have wireless access to all 277 stations by 2018.