TRENTON, N.J. – With the pandemic over and more commuters returning to their offices in New York City and elsewhere, Assemblyman Chris DePhillips wants free Wi-Fi mandated for NJ Transit customers.
The assemblyman on Monday introduced a bipartisan-backed bill (A4874) that would require the taxpayer-supported NJ Transit to provide free Wi-Fi service on its passenger trains.
NJ Transit provides Wi-Fi at select rail stations, a free courtesy only for existing Optimum cable customers. However, there is no Wi-Fi on NJ Transit trains.
“Commuters are the backbone of NJ Transit’s customer base. They spend more time on the train than they do the station, so what good is it to tout limited internet access at the station? It’s a joke,” DePhillips (R-Bergen) said. “Between the long commute times and inevitable departure and arrival delays, passengers who want to use those times to work should be able to without additional costs.”
“There were 249 working days this year. We want workers back in the office, back on trains to ease congestion and help the environment, and we don’t want them trapped on trains for hours without Wi-Fi so they can’t get work done,” DePhillips added. “If we want commuters on trains, we need the trains to work for commuters.”
Earlier this year, the Murphy administration committed to outfitting NJ Transit’s 2,221 active bus fleet with free Wi-Fi. More than 260,000 commuters use the corporation’s local and interstate bus system every weekday. An additional 132,000 customers ride the trains daily during the week on 1,231 trains and 93 light rails.
“I frequently travel down to Washington, D.C. on Amtrak, which provides free Wi-Fi that allows me to use that time to get work done,” DePhillips said. “The governor said back in February that commuters deserve a transit agency that works for them. Commute and wait times should work for them. It’s time to mandate free Wi-Fi coverage on trains to make those times more profitable for New Jersey commuters.”
His bill, cosponsored by Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman Daniel Benson, would require Wi-Fi be available on trains within six months of the bill’s signing.