By Mary Allen
In a slow-moving project to bring high-speed Wi-Fi to Gold Line train passengers, the board of the Community Redevelopment Agency on Thursday is scheduled to inch forward on a $1 million free wireless Internet project intended to boost ridership. The lengthy process, which began as a City of Angels Blue Ribbon Committee Broadband/WiFi Report in 2005, is now coming to the point of awarding a contract to Xentrans, which will prepare design specifications and a request for proposals from vendors.
Providing public Internet access on the Gold Line, which travels between East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights and Northeast Los Angeles and Pasadena, will attract riders, according to the project memorandum. Among the project’s goals:
- Increase public transit usage
- Decrease cars coming into downtown Los Angeles
- Reduce emissions and greenhouse gases and additionally
- Provide free Internet access as public service to commuters
Offering Internet access on public transit supports the investment sponsored by Experience LA in current city WiFi access points at Pershing Square and other locations.
The $113,000 contract being voted on Thursday is part of the proposed total budget of $1.2 million for the Wi-Fi pilot project, which includes implementation and installation of equipment. Currently there no other Metro rail or bus lines that offer WiFi. Both Amtrack and BART have implemented or are in the process of offering WiFi to commuters.