Kevin McLaughlin of Autoshare points us to this article in today’s New York Times, about how New York City’s subway system––encompassing some 277 underground stations––is to be set up over the next six years to allow for cellphone usage. Transit Wireless, the company that won the right to set up the network, will give the transit system at least $50 million over 10 years, and will incur all costs associated with building the network.
The deal is basically a winner for all parties: Transit Wireless makes money from cellphone companies to provide access to the network; cellphone companies get customers who are spending more money by using their cellphones in more places; the MTA gets money to improve their system without having to spend a penny themselves; and transit riders are safer, happier, and more connected. It’s a win–win–win–win situation.
The Times‘s article cites the usual concerns, like terrorism and rudeness, but both are easily dismissed. For terrorism fears––that is, that someone could remotely detonate a bomb on the subway with a cellphone––one of the reasons why the MTA is adding the cellphone network in the first place is for emergency response, and it’s not as if people dedicated to committing a terrorist act are being stopped by only getting one bar on their Motorola. And as far as rudeness or annoyingness goes, the subway is far from a beacon for human perfection as is, and it’s not the preferred destination for people who want to avoid human contact. Surely we can deal.
So then there’s the inevitable question: what, if anything, will the TTC do now that New York’s subway system is, once again, leading the way?
Photo by David Topping, from the New York City Flickr set.