Penn offers wireless to LIRR commuters

By Aaron Davis

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced last week that it has added wireless access to Penn Station in an effort to provide a little extra for its Long Island Rail Road and subway riders along with the utility of its Web site, www.mta.info, for checking fares, destinations and anything else train-related.”Many of our customers can be seen using their notebook computers as they wait for their trains. Going Wi-Fi in our Penn Station waiting room was the next logical step, providing a service many customers will certainly use,” said Helena Williams, LIRR president.To access the Internet at Penn Station, laptop computers must be equipped with a wireless network card that supports 802.11a or 802.11g/b. The wireless networks available for these two cards are named “LIRR_HOTSPOT_11A” for the 802.11a card and “LIRR_HOTSPOT_11G” for the 802.11g/b card. These networks are able to accommodate 250 users at a time.There have been a few changes to Penn Station in the last few years, with the Internet being the most recent step in an overall enhanced effort by the MTA's Public Information Office to improve communication to customers.”We see the free wireless Internet access at LIRR Penn Station as another one of our communication enhancements,” said MTA spokesman Sam Zambuto. “We have initiated others including the Penn Station message boards and have others that are coming down the line which include on-the-train crews receiving cell phones.”These cell phones, to be issued next month, gives the MTA the ability to send text and voice messages to its employees regarding service disruptions that could affect travel. “Its another opportunity for our customers to have a better riding experience.,” Zambuto added.

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