New York Subways Welcome Cell Phone Service

Underground subways have always been a safe-haven for those trying to escape the constant threat of a ringing cell phone. Unfortunately, the I’m-underground-you’re-cutting-out excuse will no longer be a valid reason for missing a phone call or text because the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority just began adding cell phone service to their underground locations, as reported by Businessweek.

Transit Wireless, the company responsible for installing the phone systems, already has systems set up in six subway locations across New York and is planning on extending service to 271 more stations. As of right now only riders with AT&T and T-Mobile plans will actually have reception underground, but Transit Wireless is hoping that other service providers will want in on the action once they see the program’s success. Of course this all comes at a price, $100-$200 million; however, the MTA reports that funding for the wireless service is being generated from private funds and eventually both the agency and the transit lines will be able to see significant profit.

Although this is a huge technological success for the transportation world, it is also a bit worrisome. Everyone has encountered that rude person screaming into their cell phone and having greater cell phone access will only make that problem more prevalent. Besides obnoxious phone conversations, riders and employees will be able to text, which can be very distracting, especially during high traffic times. Constant cell phone use decreases human contact-the small population that does acknowledge those around them will become even more miniscule if everyone is talking or texting on their cell phones. Yet by providing wireless access underground, people are more accessible in case of emergencies, which is a good thing. In any case, adding wireless service to underground stations is undoubtedly a positive step forward in customer service for the New York Transit system and as long as this service isn’t abused, it will continue to be beneficial.


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