New NYC buses to feature free Wi-Fi, USB ports

New NYC buses offer free Wi-Fi, USB ports
New NYC buses offer free Wi-Fi, USB ports

New York City buses are moving to catch up with its riders' technology.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will add more than 2,000 new buses to its fleet in the next five years, and the upgraded vehicles will feature amenities like USB charging ports and free Wi-Fi.

These new vehicles, which will run the city $1.3 billion, will replace nearly 40 percent of the MTA's current fleet.

"We're reimagining the MTA to improve services for all New Yorkers," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a statement this week. "Today's world demands connectivity, and we're meeting that challenge with state-of-the-art buses and a major overhaul of the MTA's fleet."

New York City is not the first city to implement these technological amenities. Kansas City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Atlanta and others already offer some Wi-Fi on public buses.

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The MTA will begin installing digital information screens on 200 of its 5,700 buses this year in an effort to provide passengers with information about stops, transfers and weather, among other things.

Some 75 of the MTA's new buses will debut in mid-2016 in Queens, according to Cuomo's statement, with another 300 slated to arrive in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan in the next two years. The remaining buses wouldn't hit the streets until 2018 or later.

In addition, by 2017, MTA plans to retrofit all of its express buses with Wi-Fi hotspots and USB charging ports. About 1,000 of the MTA's 5,700 buses run express routes.

"Wireless connectivity is prevalent in the lives of our customers," Tom Prendergast, chairman and CEO of the MTA, said in a statement on Tuesday. "More and more people are using Wi-Fi- enabled devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and e-book readers on a daily basis, and the MTA can accommodate this growing trend by introducing high-speed connectivity and charging ports on-board MTA buses."