PROVO Passengers who take a slightly slower commute on public transit are tapping into the Internet.
Utah Transit Authority's express buses that run up and down Interstate 15 provide a wireless connection. Like the commute itself, the connection isn't quite as fast as commuters have on UTA FrontRunner trains, but passengers say it's still a valuable resource.
"I know people who wouldn't ride the bus unless they had it," said Kyle Brimley, UTA's technology deployment project manager.
The wireless connection on the buses relies on cell phone broadband cards. FrontRunner has fiber-optic cables running under the tracks and the connection is a little faster. The fiber-optic lines are connected to 28 towers that transmit the wireless signal.
UTA says other than a few glitches, the wireless system has been running fine. And most of the issues should be resolved once the Salt Lake City-Provo FrontRunner line is complete, Brimley said.
"You're talking technology, so you do have some bumps in the road," Brimley says.
It costs UTA about $3,500 to install the Wi-Fi service per bus and $50 a month for each bus.
UTA estimates that more than 1,000 passengers, or about one in nine, use the wireless connection daily, but there are no plans to add wireless on TRAX or city buses any time soon. UTA looked at the average trip within city limits and decided passengers wouldn't be on board long enough to need wireless.
"It doesn't really justify the cost," spokeswoman Carrie Bohnsack-Ware said.