Bus passengers can now surf the web for free while on the move in the West Country.

Operator First has installed free Wi-Fi on more than 420 buses in the West of England region, allowing those with smartphones or other devices, such as tablet computers, to make the most of their travelling time.

Paul Matthews, managing director of First West of England, said that since the Wi-Fi units started to be fitted last summer, more than 81,000 people had logged onto the system, using it more than 600,000 times.

“The opportunity to access free Wi-Fi while travelling is something that our customers benefit greatly from. We know it is well used, and customers have contacted us on numerous occasions to express their surprise and delight that they can access it so easily.

“When asked on Twitter how and why they’ve used it, customers have replied telling us they use it to check email and Twitter, or to stream music. One customer told us they routinely used it to send data to their head office while commuting to and from work. The point is, the addition of free Wi-Fi adds a new dimension to bus travel. The ability to surf the web, keep up to date with social media or even process your emails while you’re on the move adds to the ever growing list of things you can do to make the most of your travelling time.”

Cllr Brian Allinson, chairman of South Gloucestershire Council’s planning and transport committee and chairman of the West of England Joint Transport Board, said: “Wi-fi on the buses makes it possible for people to access their email and keep in touch with business contacts or friends while travelling. It makes so much sense and helps make bus travel more attractive to more people, which keeps our roads moving”.

Councillor Caroline Roberts, Cabinet Member for Transport, Bath and North East Somerset added “Improving the ability for passengers to communicate and access information on the move is something that Bath & North East Somerset Council welcomes as we work with First to increase the number of people taking the bus. The Wi-Fi service on our three Park & Ride services is already extremely well received as visitors can immediately discover what sights to see in Bath and commuters can start work a few minutes early by accessing their emails. It is good news that many more First buses now have the same facility.”

Read more…