New SEPTA trains lack modern convenience
December 26, 2012By Tom MacDonald
SEPTA's shiny new rail cars have video screens to run ads, but don't have a feature that's available on many other forms of transportation.
SEPTA has just put the last of its 120 new Silverliner V train cars into service.
Commuter trains in some American cities and even Greyhound buses have Wi-Fi these days, but SEPTA's Jerri Williams says it's not even an option on the new rail cars.
"They actually were designed more than 10 years ago, so although they are new to us, now some of the technology in the design is 10 years old," Williams said. "And Wi-Fi, even though it seems like it's been around forever, is new."
Andrew Sharpe, communications director of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers, says Wi-Fi on public transportation isn't always reliable.
"We've seen so many instances where Wi-Fi has proved ineffective on mass transit vehicles," he said. "One example is in Seattle, Wash., where they tried Wi-Fi on buses, and it barely worked and they had to get rid of it."
Retrofitting the cars isn't in the budget either, Williams says, since SEPTA needs all the money it has to fix some of its crumbling infrastructure.