Have you ever wished you could watch TV, do homework, or take Buzzfeed quizzes on the go? Oct. 1 CARTA announced the installation of free Wifi on all their local and express route buses.
CARTA and Verizon Wireless are joining forces to keep Charleston connected in what Charleston Digital Corridor founder, Ernest Andrade calls, “an enlightened partnership.”
“Our passengers now have a clear advantage over automobile drivers when it comes to technology and connectivity,” said CARTA board chairman Mike Seekings.
“It’s a first for our system. It’s a first for our region,” he said.
One of the partnership’s goals is to get more people off the roads and onto buses. It’s no secret that traffic is a major problem in Charleston. It is not going to get better either, Andrade says that 40 new people are moving to the area every day.
Every weekday, CARTA makes over 15,000 trips. About 60 percent of those riders are commuting and all of them are people who could be clogging the roads during rush hour.
Seekings hopes to attract more new riders, both to reduce congestion and preserve our roads and infrastructure, most of which is already in a delicate state after the weekend’s historic floods.
Free Wifi won’t just take cars off the road, it will allow us to get work done wherever we go.
“Thousands of workers, students and residents spend time on our buses each day. Why not make that time productive — even fun?” said Seekings.
“CARTA is on the right side of what people want,” said Andrade. He believes people are looking for connectivity, transportation alternatives, a cleaner environment and “better use of their time.”
“Why are we headed toward driverless cars?” he asked, “because we think of driving as a menial task.”
Free WiFi isn’t the only way CARTA is rolling into the future, riders can track buses in real time at RideCarta.com and plan trips using Google Transit.
WiFi is unlimited on CARTA’s Express Routes 1, 2, 3 and 4, local routes have twelve-user MiFi installed.
Access is free for all riders. To connect, select the network on your device, it will be the bus’s number, agree to the Terms of Service and start browsing.
The partnership’s initial run is set at two years. In return for the WiFi, CARTA is offering advertising space for Verizon on all their buses.