It was technology Tuesday for septa as they rolled out two major technology initiatives for customers. The transportation agency rolled out its first official iPhone app as well as announced the expansion of its Comcast Xfinity Wi-Fi service to customers beyond the regional rail hubs.
SEPTA's new iPhone app,with little real time schedule information including delays the regional rail system. If you're just riding the buses and trolleys then you will still be using the TransitView web app which septa released two years ago. This new app provides the location on GPS enabled buses and trolleys on a Google map as well as providing static information on which is next to arrive as opposed to real time. President of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers Matthew Mitchell says of the iPhone app that "You can couple it with the apps in the Web services, like 'Next to Arrive' and TransitView, and it's a way of delivering the kind of information that those countdown clocks have been a much less expensive way." And unlike SPETA's other iPhone app, iTrans, this one is free and covers more than just the regional rail.
The expansion of Xfinity service will make Philadelphia one of the first cities in the United States to offer free Wi-Fi to subway, bus and trolley commuters. Transit agencies in New York, Miami, and the San Francisco Bay area have similar initiatives but none of them cover all lines of their systems service. The hope is that one day there will be Wi-Fi service on the buses and trolleys and train cars themselves but Mitchell continues, "generally, systems have been hesitant in doing so until we are confident that they can do it in a reliable manner."