SEPTA to roll out expanded WiFi coverage at stations, new iPhone app

SEPTA will announce the availability of free Xfinity Wi-Fi to customers at subway, bus and trolley stations Tuesday morning as well as rolling out its first official iPhone app.

The agency already partnered with Comcast to make the service available at Regional Rail hubs, but is now extending the amenity to stations serving other forms of public transit.

"It's something that customers have been asking for for a long time," president of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers Matthew Mitchell said. "They would particularly like it on the vehicles but, generally, systems have been hesitant in doing so until they are confident that they can do it in a reliable manner. But in the current era, that's the kind of thing you want to do to attract customers. This is just one more way that the time you spend on SEPTA, you can make that productive time."

SEPTA officials said in a release the transit agency will become one of the nation's first to offer free Wi-Fi to subway, trolley and bus commuters.

"Several systems actually have Wi-Fi service available on their commuter trains and found it's been very, very popular with customers," Mitchell said, pointing to the MBTA in Boston. 
 
Transit agencies in New York City, Miami and the San Francisco Bay area are also in varying stages of rolling out similar initiatives but have not yet extended across-the-board service to their systems.
SEPTA will also Tuesday morning unveil the agency's first official iPhone app, providing real-time travel updates and other pertinent rider information.

SEPTA two years ago unveiled a mobile site with links to a TransitView web app, which provides the location of GPS-enabled SEPTA buses and trolleys on a Google Map, as well as a static "Next to Arrive" schedule.

Mitchell said the new iPhone app has the potential to provide savings to SEPTA while streamlining the commuter experience, particularly when combined with the agency's previous offerings.

"You can couple it with the apps and the web services, like 'Next to Arrive' and TransitView, and it's a way of delivering the kind of information that those countdown clocks have in a much less expensive way," he said.

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