You'll recall how last year BART canceled that contract they had with a wi-fi service provider after five spotty years of service that drew thousands of complaints. Well, commuters and the Chronicle's Michael Cabanatuan alike have been wondering if the late-night shutdown of the Muni underground system will be coming with wi-fi installation on the Muni system, and the answer is a resounding "Nope."
As we discussed earlier, the six-month inconvenience that Muni is putting us through, cutting off train service between 9:30 and 10 p.m. every night and necessitating bus bridges, is only accomplishing some more mundane technical upgrades, including the underground radio system and emergency phone system in the tunnels.
And as officials at CalTrain, Muni, and BART all confirm for the Chron, the task of wi-fi enabling a long stretch of tracks or the interior of a steel train is logistically difficult and highly expensive, thus the promises we've had of years past not to mention the promise of free, citywide public wifi have not come to pass.
We should be thankful, at least, that there is some limited cell service in BART and Muni tunnels, but mostly only on BART within city limits and part of Oakland.
Muni officials, apparently, think that budget shouldn't be diverted from more important things, like the purchase of new rail cars, and I think we all should see the wisdom there. Trains that work, and that aren't overcrowded constantly, are more important than trains where you can check your Facebook.
Nonetheless Muni spokesman Paul Rose says the agency is “in the process of exploring our options for Wi-Fi or cellular service in the Muni Metro." And even though that statement alone translates to "you may see it in ten years" in SF bureaucratic speak, he adds, "We understand that many of our riders would be interested in this service."