Bus Éireann trials free Wi-Fi on Dublin-Galway route

5 Oct 2010

Bus Éireann passengers travelling on the Dublin-Galway route can now avail of free Wi-Fi after the company introduced a three-month trial of the service.

All coaches operating regularly on the route have been fitted with Wi-Fi equipment by technology provider Fleet Connect and customer reaction to the service will be reviewed over the coming months. If the trial proves successful, Bus Éireann intends to make it available across its 30 Expressway (inter-city) routes.

“This trial of Wi-Fi will enable customers using our Dublin-Galway service to check their emails, catch up with their friends on Facebook, and access the internet while relaxing on our high quality coaches,” said Andrew McLindon, a spokesman for Bus Éireann.

“Free Wi-Fi means customers can make the most of their journey at no additional cost,” he added.

The Wi-Fi trial follows a number of technology innovations by Bus Éireann, including being the first coach operator in Europe to offer e-ticketing, selling tickets via Twitter, and being one of the first coach operators in the world to introduce a nationwide real-time information system providing customers with up-to-the-second information on when services arrive at stops via text and the web.

Bus Éireann’s X20 service

Bus Éireann has also recently introduced the X20 service on its Dublin-Galway route, which provides the fastest coach service from Galway city to Dublin Airport, with a journey time of just two hours and 40 minutes.

The moves comes just weeks after Dublin Chamber pointed out that Dublin’s city managers and Dublin Bus missed out on a major coup by failing to put free Wi-Fi on the city’s buses and trains.

In recent weeks, Madrid became the first city in the world to offer free Wi-Fi on its buses.

Aebhric McGibney, policy director of Dublin Chamber, reminded Siliconrepublic that it called for such a move three years ago as part of its Knowledge City proposal. Madrid unveiled its initiative as part of the current European Mobility Week.

The Madrid service has the slogan ‘Viaja más inteligente, Vive Mejor’ – Travel more intelligently, live better.

McGibney said that if Dublin were to take a similar action, it would be possible to better promote the city as a knowledge city. “Dublin’s success in the 21st century will be about getting investment and attracting highly educated, well-paid knowledge workers to base themselves in the city.

“Having free public Wi-Fi would enable workers to keep their digital lifestyles alive, checking email on their smartphones, being productive on their iPads.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years