Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cellphones on the T

Years ago, when the MBTA was first working on a contract to wire the tunnels for cellphone service, I wrote an op-ed for the Metro in which I posited that cellphone service on the T might help convince some people to take the T instead of driving. (I couldn't find the op-ed online.) Since so many people use their commuting time to make a few calls and catch up on voice-mail, car commuting is more attractive in this regard.

Today's Globe reports that the four tunnels connecting the Park Street, Government Center, State, and Downtown Crossing have had cellphone service (Verizon and T-Mobile) for a few weeks, with AT&T coming on line yesterday.

Some things have changed in the last few years. When I wrote my op-ed, the big worry was the noise of cellphone conversations. As the article points out, data (e-mail, text-messaging, and web browsing) is where growth is. And, data use is silent.

The limited service availability seems unlikely to get many people out of their cars, but the T and its partner expect to expand service.

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