James Logan’s appreciation for Metro’s Wi-Fi service came with a catch. He was glad to be able to keep an eye on his email only because his trip out of the office was taking longer than expected.
The Blue Line train was inching toward Largo Town Center because a broken track switch Monday morning reduced Orange, Blue and Silver line service to a crawl.
Metro announced last week that it had finished work to provide Wi-Fi to the last batch of 17 underground stations, after saying in December that coverage was available at 30 of the underground stations. The service is expected to come to above-ground stations by the end of the year.
While some applauded the changes, others were disappointed that cell service is only available in about a third of Metro tunnels. Separate from providing Wi-Fi at stations, Metro said it has expanded the area where AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon service will work. Cell service had already been available in the tunnels between stations on the Red Line from Glenmont to Silver Spring, and on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines from Metro Center to Stadium-Armory.
The latest expansion means cell service should work between Benning Road tunnel portal and Largo Town Center.
Being able to get a connection when they’re stuck in the train is what’s most important to riders, Robert Drozd, who takes the Red Line from Silver Spring everyday, wrote in an email Monday.
“We try to spend as little time as possible in the stations; where it’s needed is in the trains,” he wrote.
As Cathy Kalimon rode toward downtown on the Orange Line on Monday, checking her email and the weather, her connection went in and out between stations around Stadium-Armory.
“It was very spotty,” she said. “It was connected, then not connected and it also asked me to sign in at times.” By Capitol South, she’d given up.
On a Blue Line train Monday, Robert “Bobbichuck” McCoy, said he also wasn’t impressed. Wi-Fi at the stations is all well and good, he said, but he doesn’t take Metro to get on the internet.
“What you want from the Metro is to be able to get to places,” he said. “They should be focusing on improving service.