October 1, 2015

CARTA Rolls Out Wi-Fi Access On Buses

Staff Report  /  Charleston Regional Business Journal

Many CARTA buses are now enabled with Wi-Fi access.

The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority and Verizon Wireless announced today the launch of free Wi-Fi service on the system's main line and express buses.

"We envision this service as being the sort of tool that will delight our current customers and also get people on the bus for the first time. That change, in turn, decreases traffic and reduces wear on infrastructure, which benefits everyone," CARTA board chairman Mike Seekings said in a statement.

CARTA has been piloting the program over the past month. Unlimited Wi-Fi is available on CARTA's commuter-heavy express routes one through four, while 12-user Mi-Fi is being offered on local routes.

Smaller neighborhood shuttles and DASH trolleys have not been outfitted with wireless capabilities, though CARTA officials said they might expand the service to other buses in the future.

The partnership between CARTA and Verizon is a two-year agreement. Verizon will provide the Internet service in exchange for a fully wrapped bus advertisement. The service would otherwise cost around $86,000 for two years.

"Transit riders will appreciate the reliability and security of our network as they seamlessly use their smartphones, tablets and laptops en route to their destinations," Krista Bourne, president of Verizon Wireless in the Carolinas/Tennessee region, said in a statement.

CARTA provides more than 15,000 trips each weekday, 60% of which are commuter rides. In 2014, the system posted record ridership of more than 5 million.