Friday, June 04, 2010

Free Wi-Fi (AmtrakConnect) Now Standard on Acela Express

MobileTech News reports that based on a successful three-month trial run (trial program began on March 1, 2010), strong customer satisfaction and solid system performance, Amtrak is making free Wi-Fi a standard service offering for every passenger traveling on its high-speed Acela Express trains operating between Washington, D.C. and Boston and is moving forward with plans to expand it to other routes. The Amtrak WiFi service is known as AmtrakConnect.

Recent on-board surveys reveal that about 115,000 Acela Express passengers per month have logged-on, or about 39 percent of ridership. In addition, 76 percent of those polled had a favorable or strongly favorable opinion of the service and with overall system performance. AmtrakConnect is available for all Amtrak passengers within the gate areas across many stations along the Northeast Corridor including Washington Union Station, Baltimore Penn Station, Wilmington Station, Philadelphia 30th Street Station, New York Penn Station, Providence Station and Route 128 Station in Boston. Wi-Fi service continues to be available in all ClubAcela lounges in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.

Amtrak also is announcing plans to expand Wi-Fi service to other routes contingent on available funding. To advance this goal, Amtrak has just issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for vendors to identify, procure, install and maintain Wi-Fi on its fleet nationwide, including for: its remaining passenger equipment in the northeast, the Northeast Regional service; for long-distance, overnight trains; and for passenger equipment used in corridor services across the U.S. This work is expected to begin by late fall 2010 and will start with Amtrak California services routes, followed by the Northeast Regional service.

It's good to hear Amtrak is moving quickly on WiFi across more trains. They need to work to put WiFi on Northeast Regional trains before California if you ask me but it's on the list to begin in later 2010 so that's good.


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