Thanks to Tech Upgrade, CTA Riders Will Be Even More Closely Glued to Smartphones

Erin Nekervis via flickr
Erin Nekervis via flickr

Apparently the CTA thinks its customers don’t already spend enough time staring at their smartphones. Today city officials announced that free public Wi-Fi service is now available in all 18 downtown Red and Blue Line subway stations.

It has been easy to access the Internet on the CTA since 2015, when it became the largest public transportation system in North America to provide transit riders with full 4G wireless coverage. (That wasn’t such an impressive achievement, since the Chicago rapid transit network has only 22 miles of subway and tunnels, a fraction of that in New York’s MTA system.) But the new Wi-Fi service will be useful for straphangers who want to quickly download media, large files or access the Internet without using data from their monthly wireless service contracts.

Emanuel, CTA chief Dorval Carter and 2nd Ward alderman Brian Hopkins announce the new service at a presser today. Photo: CTA
Emanuel, CTA chief Dorval Carter and 2nd Ward alderman Brian Hopkins announce the new service at a presser today. Photo: CTA

“Chicago has taken the next technological step toward keeping commuters fully connected in our fast-paced, digital world,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement. “This service will benefit all passengers who rely on our rail system to get to work, school and to destinations across our great city every day.”

Station platforms now equipped with the new Wi-Fi service include:

  • Blue Line: Division, Chicago, Grand, Clark/Lake, Washington, Monroe, Jackson, LaSalle and Clinton
  • Red Line: North/Clybourn, Clark/Division, Chicago/State, Grand, Lake, Monroe, Jackson, Harrison and Roosevelt

The Blue Line’s Belmont and Logan Square stations will also be equipped with Wi-Fi by late May. The cost of the new Wi-Fi service in all Red and Blue line subway stations is about $1 million bankrolled from the CTA’s operating budget.

So thanks to this latest technological upgrade, you no longer have any excuse for interacting with your fellow human beings while riding public transportation.

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