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Wi-Fi on the Choo Choo

January 29, 2008

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The Commonwealth’s busiest Commuter Rail, the Worcester/Framingham line, is getting Wi-Fi according to this Globe article. Apparently this is the first program in the country, which is surprising.

As a daily rider of Worcester/Framingham line, I must say it’s finally nice to read a positive article of the embattled public transportation service. Dan Grabauskas has recently come under fire for prohibitively late trains, rude conductors, stations under disrepair, filthy cars, bleeding red budgets and rising ticket prices. Heck, I even joined in the chorus on a few occasions.

So kudos to Dan and his team. This is good news for them. But perhaps not for us…

My only problem and, I suppose it’s minor: do we really need to be any more connected than we already are? The 30 minute train ride was “quiet time” to read the paper or catch up on the latest issue of BusinessWeek (or zone out and stare out the opaque windows). You know, off line work.

And lastly, I must say, I did get a kick out of Dan’s quote: “If we really want to try to boost commuter ridership, then the way to do that is to have a difference that gives a competitive advantage for people getting on a train rather than getting in their car,” Grabauskas said in a phone interview.

Um, Dan, I think the way to boost ridership is ensuring that trains run on time at least 50% of the time. Think we commit to that before you decide to start adding HDTV flat screens in the cars?

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