TransLink and Shaw to make Wi-Fi free on entire transit system

TRANSLINK and Shaw Communications Inc. are teaming up to deliver free Wi-Fi for transit customers across Metro Vancouver.

“We have half-a-million people ride our system every day, and when we ask them what they’d like to see on transit, Wi-Fi is one of the most frequent requests,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “We’re proud to be the first transit authority in Canada to offer this free Wi-Fi service and we’re doing it at no cost to our customers or taxpayers.”

Starting in 2020, TransLink riders – whether or not they are Shaw customers – will be able to stay connected for free throughout their commute on bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus.

The agreement between TransLink and Shaw will see these enhancements come at no cost to TransLink or its customers. Under the agreement, Shaw will install and operate the Wi-Fi system. Since 2016, there has been free Wi-Fi at SeaBus terminals and on SeaBus ferries through a similar agreement with Shaw.

“Every day, thousands of people use their transit commute to catch up on life and reach out to friends, family and colleagues — and having access to seamless connectivity is what makes this possible,” said Katherine Emberly, President, Business, Brand and Communications, Shaw Communications. “Whether it’s through text, email or social media, these connections are at the heart of our business, and the Wi-Fi system will enable us to keep more riders in Metro Vancouver connected as they travel across the system.”

TransLink and Shaw will refine the system design and plan to run trials in 2019, with deployment starting in 2020. TransLink expects the entire network to be completed by 2025. Wi-Fi rollout will begin with SkyTrain and buses.

TransLink intends to eventually provide Wi-Fi on all modes, including HandyDART, West Coast Express and community shuttle buses.

Ty Speer, Tourism Vancouver President and CEO, said: “TransLink and Shaw’s commitment to expand Wi-Fi across the transit system will enhance the personalized visitor experience for many travellers to our region who use public transportation. As we look to develop Vancouver into the most digitally connected city for visitors, the insights we’ll gain from the Wi-Fi network will be an important tool to help us effectively manage tourism in our destination.”