"It's something we've been looking at for a couple of years now," METRO Chief Information Officer Denise Wendler said in a news release. “We’re excited to finally expand this service throughout our fleet."
To use the free Wi-Fi, METRO riders will see "ridemetro-wifi" as an option from a list of available connections and will need to put in their email address and approve METRO’s terms and conditions, according to the release.
METRO’s addition of the free Wi-Fi on its buses, paratransit vehicles and trains will occur over the next several months in a phased rollout, it said in the release. According to METRO Public Information Officer Monica Russo, over 50% of METRO’s vehicles are already equipped with the free Wi-Fi.
The opportunity to offer this service on METRO began in 2019 through a partnership with the city of Houston and Microsoft known as the city’s Smart City Initiative. Wi-Fi was provided on select bus routes and METRORail's Green and Purple lines, but the pilot program was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Russo said.
According to the release, Wi-Fi connectivity on METRORail is expected to be up and running by early 2022. Vehicles with METRO's free Wi-Fi will have a decal indicating the availability of the service.