News Local

TransLink rolls out WiFi buses

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Ads will help identify TransLink's WiFi buses. (TELUS PHOTO)

Ads will help identify TransLink's WiFi buses. (TELUS PHOTO)

Cue the drumroll — WiFi on transit has arrived.

Well, sort of. TransLink told 24 hours on Monday that it’s signed an advertising agreement with Telus to offer free wireless Internet while commuting.

But you’re not going to be able to surf the web just anywhere. It won’t be available on SkyTrain, Canada Line, Seabus or West Coast Express.

Instead, the transit authority has selected three buses with instructions on how to find them.

“The three buses offering this service are: 8125, 9258, 9266,” TransLink said in a statement.

The transit provider said the buses will be tasked to the 99 B-Line on Broadway, 351 White Rock-Richmond route and the 555 express at Braid-Carvolth route.

All the buses are also covered with large Telus-brand advertising for easy identification.

“The current contract is for six months with the option to end the agreement at any time or to extend it another six months for a total of one year,” said TransLink, adding there are “no plans” to expand the service right now.

Telus spokeswoman Liz Sauve said there’s a social media “scavenger” challenge with two Samsung tablets up for grabs as part of the launch.

The contest runs until Sunday.

“All people have to do, if they’re on Twitter, is snap the photo of the bus on the road and tweet it using the hashtag #TelusWiFiBus,” she said.

To connect to the WiFi, riders simply select “TelusWiFi,” and follow the prompts on a webpage that will pop up, said Sauve.

TransLink said the reason it’s doing the program is to “improve the customer experience on transit” and to find new funding through advertising.

Advertising revenue has steadily been increasing for TransLink, totalling $9.3 million last year, up from $8.1 million in 2011, the authority said.


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