SEPTA Adds WiFi to Rail Stations, Unveiling Real-Time App

SEPTA is upgrading its technology offerings to riders.

The transit authority says they are launching free WiFi internet at subway, trolley and rail stations across the area.

SEPTA officials say the agency will be one of the first in nation to offer riders the ability to surf for free as they wait to catch a ride on those lines.

The 69th Street Transportation Center, which connects the Market-Frankford El, Norristown High Speed Line and bus and trolley routes, is the first to receive the new service starting on Tuesday.

Hotspots will be installed in every station along the Broad Street Subway and Market-Frankford Line and certain locations along the Norristown High Speed Line over the next two years, according to officials.

The free wireless internet is already offered to regional rail riders at major hubs in Center City and University City. That service, as well as the new offerings, is run by Xfinity. (Xfinity is owned by Comcast, the parent company of NBC10.)

Knowing exactly when the next train will arrive and what delays and detours you might experience on your ride is the focus of SEPTA's new iPhone app that also launched on Tuesday.

The official SEPTA app, as it is called, takes real-time tracking technology that's currently offered on the transit authority's website and customizes it for mobile users.

Using GPS, the app will tell users when the next train or bus will arrive at their location, whether lines are shut down, how long your commute will be and how much you'll pay. A 'connect' section will give communters the ability to call customer service directly and leave feedback about the app.

"We want to hear our customer's feedback, recommendations and comments about where this app can go and what kind of services they're looking for," said Bill Zebrowski, SEPTA's Senior Director for IT.

SEPTA is somewhat late to the mobile party. Smartphone riders have been relying on apps and mobile websites, like, developed by citizens to fill the real-time information hole.

However, the transit authority has made upgrading technology a priority as of late. They plan to roll out payment cards and do away with tokens.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

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