Columbus (OH) Outfits Buses with Wi-Fi

Columbus (OH) bus riders soon won’t have to worry about blowing through their smartphone data limits as they wait for their stop. The Central Ohio Transit Authority plans to offer wireless Internet on all buses before the end of 2017. COTA recently began installing new wireless communication technology on its buses to replace outdated radios.

Initially, that will be used to transmit bus data faster, so COTA’s real-time bus tracking will be more reliable. But the devices that are being installed on 444 COTA vehicles also accept wireless cards that can broadcast Wi-Fi to people riding the bus. Those devices will be installed by October, and COTA plans to roll out Wi-Fi in 2017, said Jeff Vosler, COTA’s chief financial officer. “It’s pretty simple,” he said. “It’s not unlike what you have in your home.” COTA still needs to iron out which vendor it will use, what speeds it will offer and whether users will have to pay to access Wi-Fi on buses. The agency already has its new wireless technology on eight buses, and Vosler said it is working well. It sends data every 15 seconds instead of every minute, so real-time data is more reliable. COTA paid about $1.6 million for the technology.


Columbus (OH) Outfits Buses with Wi-Fi