Queens riders happy to finally get Wi-Fi-enabled subway stations

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Queens subway riders are now joining Manhattan straphangers in staying connected while underground.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the MTA announced the completion of the second phase of expanding wireless and Wi-Fi service to 40 more subway stations throughout the city, 11 in Manhattan and 29 in Queens, adding to the 36 already wired stations in Midtown Manhattan.

“Adding and improving wireless service at more subway stations provides a much-anticipated boost to riders’ experience in one of the world’s busiest and oldest subway systems, while offering an added level of security,” Cuomo said. “A more stable network below ground ensures that riders and first responders can seamlessly communicate in event of emergency, which is essential in a system that carries millions of passengers every day.”

The 29 Queens stations include Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue, Court Square, Forest Hills-71st Avenue, Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike, Queens Plaza and more.

Queens straphangers said they find the service will be both helpful and provide a sense of safety while waiting for the trains underground.

“I think it’s awesome because it’ll give people something to do while waiting for the train and for me it’ll help if I need to check up on anything while I head to class,” said 19-year-old college student Nestor Roche, who takes the train daily to school. “It also makes you feel a lot safer knowing that if you need to, you can contact the police or anyone else for help.”

Subway rider George Burris said he is happy to see the MTA has finally included the borough in the list of Wi-Fi-enabled stations.

“With almost every store having free Wi-Fi of some sort it’s really nice to see the subways here are finally catching up,” Burris said. “I’ll probably check some emails while waiting for the train to show up.”

The completion of the first two phases are part of the company Transit Wireless’ seven-phase plan to have all 277 underground stations featuring wireless and Wi-Fi service by 2017.

Phase three of the project is expected to bring service to 39 more stations across the city by spring of next year including the Flushing-Main Street station and the new 34th Street stop for the No. 7 train.

“It’s good that they are doing this but I just hope it doesn’t make people more distracted on their phones and paying less attention to what’s around them,” said subway rider Yasani Coronel. “But I definitely can’t wait to try it out.”

For the full list of wireless-enabled stations click here.