Amtrak Late to Station With Onboard WiFi


From the Wash Post's Comings & Goings col:

Okay, let's see if we've got this straight. You can get WiFi on a $20 bus traveling the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington to New York, but you can't get it on Amtrak. Really?

For years, travelers have wondered why the nation's premier rail company couldn't provide wireless Internet service to its passengers, especially on Acela trains, which are heavily patronized by business travelers. Most national train services in Europe provide WiFi, as does Canada's Via Rail.

But hey, don't give up hope yet.

"Presently Amtrak is testing systems on the Acela express train, and we hope to have some results on that front soon," said Cliff Cole, spokesman for the rail line. "Our goal is to provide WiFi service," he confirmed, although no launch date has been announced.

More here.

Isn't Joe Biden the Amtrak czar or something? Can he do something about this? Whatever else you can say about the nation's generally awful and useless national passenger rail service, the service between New York and Washington, D.C. is popular (actually has more passengers than employees on it!), on-time, and a decent (though pricier) alternative to flying between the two cities. If Amtrak did get WiFi, I suspect even fewer people would fly, given the massive hassles that entails.

But when your lunch—and at the Amtrak Cafe Car, that means a nuclear-meltdown bagel breakfast sandwich microwaved to the point where the egg, cheesy substance, and plastic wrapper have fused together in a novel sustance—is being eaten by cheapo bus operators (also good, but generally less reliable than flying or training), it's time to go to the big engine switching yard in the sky or something.

Reason on Amtrak here.

Hat tip: Alan Vanneman