Beginning today, TTC customers travelling on the 35 Jane bus route will have access to free onboard public Wi-Fi. The program will expand to include the 102 Markham Road route in June.
Mayor John Tory and City Councillor Jennifer McKelvie joined TTC CEO Rick Leary for a sneak peek of the new service at the TTC’s Mount Dennis Garage over the weekend. Video footage of the tour can be viewed on the Official TTC YouTube Channel.
“Adding Wi-Fi on these bus routes is all part of our continued work to modernize and upgrade our transit system and to keep improving the ride for transit users. These routes were specifically picked for the pilot in an effort to bring Wi-Fi to underserved areas in our city. The pandemic has further demonstrated the importance of having access to the Internet and how it can make the lives of residents easier – adding it to our TTC buses is one way for our city to remove any barriers to equitable Internet access. I look forward to hearing from riders about their experience having access to free Wi-Fi on these routes and seeing the results of this pilot,” said Mayor John Tory.
“Introducing Wi-Fi on these TTC bus routes is an important step forward. This pilot program exemplifies the forward-thinking, innovative work underway at the TTC to modernize our transit system and improve service for our riders,” said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson.
The initiative is part of a larger City of Toronto program aimed at prioritizing and providing Wi-Fi access to Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) in the city. The 35 Jane and 102 Markham Road routes were chosen due to their popularity and location in key NIAs.
“Reliable Internet access is essential,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “During this pandemic, we’ve seen so many jobs, learning resources and support initiatives go digital. With this new program, we can eventually provide our customers with consistent Internet access across TTC vehicles.”
This is the first phase of a six-month pilot project that will allow the TTC to evaluate a variety of Wi-Fi service models and gather customer feedback. The learnings from the pilot will help to inform the Request for Proposal for a Fully-Managed Customer Wi-Fi Network on Buses and Streetcars, to be issued later this year.
Wi-Fi-enabled buses feature decals informing customers that onboard access is available. Customers will be required to log-in and accept the terms of service to access the Internet and browse the web, check e-mails, social media, or other low-bandwidth activities. During the pilot, activities that require a continuous high bandwidth connection, such as streaming movies or downloading large files, will not be supported.
Customers may also notice Wi-Fi-enabled buses on other routes during the pilot. Customers are encouraged to take advantage of this ‘Easter Egg’ and use the onboard Wi-Fi whenever available.
The TTC encourages customers to share their feedback or questions with the Customer Service team, either by phone, or by competing this form https://www.ttc.ca/feedback/otherSuggestion.action on the TTC’s website.
Free internet access has been available in all TTC subway stations since 2018.