In January, the Clark and Lake station was equipped with free Wi-Fi, and now 18 more downtown stations on the Red and Blue Line are connected as well.
Chicago’s L was the first transit system to ensure every train line had 4G coverage in 2014, according to the mayor’s office. Mayor Rahm Emanuel originally wanted to upgrade to a 5G network, but that project required a lot more work. Instead, the mayor and President of the CTA Dorval Carter chose to add Wi-Fi which was faster and easier to set up across the transit system.
L train platforms that now supply free Wi-Fi include the Blue Line’s Division, Chicago, Grand, Clark/Lake, Washington, Monroe, Jackson, LaSalle and Clinton stations. The Red Line has Wi-Fi at North/Clybourn, Clark/Division, Chicago/State, Grand, Lake, Monroe, Jackson, Harrison and Roosevelt stations.
By the end of May, the Blue Line Belmont and Logan Square stations will have free internet too.
The cost of installation and Wi-Fi service is about $1 million and was comes out of the CTA’s operating budget.
As Emanuel closes out his term, this project wraps up the work he’s done with Carter. In the past few years, a lot has improved with the CTA. For example, train and bus tracker apps were upgraded, digital tracker screens are being piloted for buses, platforms got healthy food and photo booths, hundreds of security cameras were installed, and Ventra cards will soon be integrated with Apple Wallet.