We may have to wait several more years for high-tech renovations to come to the subways of New York City, but the bus of the future is here already. On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Transit Authority officially debuted its new line of tech-forward buses, featuring Wi-Fi and USB ports along with its blue-and-yellow color scheme. The new fleet could already be spotted making its way around Queens, (hopefully) helping make its riders’ commutes a bit more productive and a bit less painful.
Currently, there are seven of these futuristic vehicles, and 75 more are expected to join the ranks in the summer. Think of it as an internet cafe on wheels — minus the cafe part. USB ports will keep devices charged, and on-board Wi-Fi connectivity will keep you busy even in rush-hour traffic. But be warned — all those charging ports are located at the top of the bus, so you might need to come prepared with an extra long cord.
“People don’t get on a bus and read a newspaper anymore. People get on a bus, and they expect to have that digital connectivity that they need to lead their life,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the new buses. “They’re on the bus for 25 minutes; that can’t be a wasted 25 minutes. They want to be able to plug in, get their Wi-Fi, have a USB port, do their work on their phone or their device or whatever the device of the future is, and that’s what these buses now have.”
Ultimately, the city hopes to have more than 2,000 of these vehicles bustling in and out of the five boroughs over the course of the next five years.
“Today, we are reimagining the MTA for the 21st century and creating a transit system that will meet the needs of the next generation of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in a statement posted on the MTA’s Facebook page. “With our unprecedented MTA capital plan, we are building for the future with major initiatives that will improve the commute of millions of New Yorkers, reduce overcrowding, and bring new technology to our subways, buses and railroads. New York is investing in the MTA like never before, and together we are recapturing the boldness and ambition that made this the Empire State in the first place.”
So while we’re waiting on a more high-tech alternative to our paper Metrocards, we can at least enjoy Wi-Fi on our bus.