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Metro Considering Cell Service for Subways

The agency received a status report Thursday on the feasibility of cell phone and wi-fi service on the Red and Purple Lines.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority released a status update memo Thursday, May 17, on an ongoing project to potentially provide cellular phone and wi-fi service on Red and Purple Line subway trains.

The report notes that other agencies, including the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in San Francisco, provide similar systems, and suggests that providing cell service could improve safety on the underground trains and on platforms.

The agency is currently in negotiations with several providers, with revenue sharing being a major issue, along with technical concerns. The memo says that the contract is expected to be awarded in August or September 2012.

Comments on the Metro blog The Source suggest that riders are evenly divided as to whether they would welcome such services. One commenter notes that the trains are one of the few places people aren't screaming into their cell phones, while another writes that having wi-fi would make it possible for her to get a few more emails answered on her commute.

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