I’m officially over bus wireless

Let me start by saying that, as cool as I find the concept, wireless access on buses is not high on my transit wish list. It’s not in the top 10–or even (I’m guessing, since I haven’t made a list this long) in the top 50. I dream of: more shelters, bus-tracking information at major stops, more frequent and comprehensive service, a really good system map, light rail. Wireless access while I ride? Merely a nice-to-have.

Except, so far, it’s not that nice to have.

I don’t know if we’re officially out of pilot stage yet (if not, it’s been a really long pilot), but if this is the way it’s going to work long-term, I would advise Metro and Sound Transit to invest the money and resources in something else. On the rare occasions I actually manage to connect to an access point (usually on the 545–perhaps twice on the 48), it’s forever until I actually get an IP address. Assuming I manage that, the connection is so grindingly slow that all the applications that are trying to connect start to hang, and pretty soon, my laptop becomes completely unusable.

I’d rather read a book or take a nap (shoot, even eavesdrop) than fuss with my laptop for 30 minutes just to send one e-mail. It’s just not that deep. For now, if I just have to get on the internets while on the bus, I’ll wait for a long traffic light and connect to one of the gazillion unsecured personal networks (can you say “Linksys”?) out there.

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