More chances to snag free Wi-Fi on Metra cars

  • Metra is expanding its Wi-Fi service to 50 more cars, which are identified with an orange logo.

    Metra is expanding its Wi-Fi service to 50 more cars, which are identified with an orange logo. Courtesy of Metra

 
 
Updated 8/29/2016 6:31 PM

The odds of getting on a Metra railcar with Wi-Fi just increased.

The agency is installing the free service in 50 more railcars after a pilot project received favorable reviews from riders. Metra equipped 12 railcars with Wi-Fi in February.

 

The extra Wi-Fi cars will be distributed throughout the 11 train lines by the end of October. Metra operates more than 1,000 railcars.

Metra is searching for partners to subsidize the expenses of upgrading the cars, which will cost about $186,000 annually.

Don't attempt to download the last five seasons of "Game of Thrones," however.

Commuters are asked to limit their activities to checking email and internet browsing with hot spots restricted to a 1 megabyte per second download speed per person. Some dead zones could occur on the route.

Riders who filled out an online survey said the quality of the connection was satisfactory and met their expectations.

If you find a designated car, choose "Metra Wi-Fi Onboard" from your smartphone, tablet or laptop and agree to the terms and conditions.

Metra has spent years trying to find a low-cost or no-cost Wi-Fi solution but kept running into technical and cost roadblocks. At one time, the projected costs came to $72 million.

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