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In the old days, there were two main ways to get anywhere from Boston to Washington using public transit. Those two ways were Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses. Over the past few years, new bus services that travel along the northeast corridor have popped up including Bolt Bus and Megabus. Both of these new bus services offer very inexpensive fares and also offer free Wi-Fi service (Bolt Bus is partially owned by Greyhound). When I speak with entrepreneurs that travel anywhere from Boston to Washington, many have started to use the buses over Amtrak because of the Wi-Fi and the lower cost.
Last week Amtrak announced the launch of Wi-Fi service on their fleet of Acela Express trains. Acela Express is the luxury, “faster” train service that runs from Boston to Washington and costs a bit more than the traditional Amtrak train service. The new Wi-Fi service is free to all travelers.
The free Wi-Fi service is also available inside the stations that Acela services including NY Penn Station and Washington Union Station. So now we have a new place to use free Wi-Fi in Penn Station!
I wonder how the Acela Wi-Fi handles travel inside the tunnels. It’s great news that Amtrak is finally starting to move forward with technology on their trains. While the announcement notes that there are no firm plans to add Wi-Fi to their other trains, the sooner they add the service, the sooner they could look to potentially taking people off the buses and onto the trains. And frankly, if the service quality is good, Amtrak should charge a small fee for it. If the airlines charge, so should Amtrak.