Sunday, March 21, 2010

Amtrak launches Wi-Fi on Acela routes and in some stations

Like most things about Amtrak, the advent of what is being called "AmtrakConnect" is late in coming. But after more than a year of passengers wondering why buses could provide wireless Internet access while Amtrak lagged behind, America's national rail carrier has finally entered the twenty-first century.

"Free of charge during the introductory period," AmtrakConnect is probably intended to eventually become a pay-per-use service. But Acela is priced so much higher than Northeast Regional service that only business travelers regularly take it, and business travelers often have cellular cards for which they already pay monthly fees.

With BoltBus, MegaBus, and now even many northeast Greyhound routes offering complimentary Internet service en route, it seems unlikely that Amtrak is going to grab a lot of revenue by selling Wi-Fi to its customers.

Whatever the long-term outlook for AmtrakConnect, it's here for now. Check it out on any Acela train (whether First or Business Class) or in any of these stations along the Northeast:
  • Washington, D.C. Union
  • Baltimore Penn
  • Philadelphia 30th Street
  • New York Penn
  • Providence
  • Boston-Route 128 (not South Station)
You'll also find AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi service in all four of the ClubAcela facilities, including the club in Boston's South Station.

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