More about wifi on Irish rail..

Posted: May 23, 2008 in evert bopp, irish rail, last word. barry kenny, train, wifi

I blogged about getting WiFi on Irish trains some time ago.
Since this blogpost it has become clear to me how much this type of service is in demand. I have spoken or been approached by several dozen people who agreed with the sentiment expressed in the blogpost. These people ranged from entrepreneurs and students to civil servants. All these people had one thing the in common: they were all willing to either pay more for a ticket or to use the train service more if WiFi internet access was available.
I was also approached by John Kennedy from Silicon republic who wrote on the subject.
Subsequently I was approached last Wednesday (May 21st) By Radio station Today FM who wanted to record a discussion between Barry Kelly (spokesperson for Irish rail) and myself for their “The Last Word” show.
I am not going to summarize the discussion as it has not yet been broadcast but what I can “reveal” is that Barry Kelly indicated that Irish Rails’ main reason for not having WiFi on trains yet was that there was significant price-tag attached to this and that they had yet to see an proposal that showed a revenue benefit for them. When I then repeated my earlier offering of installing a public WiFi service on all Irish Trains at NO COST to Irish Rail Barry Kelly just repeated his previous statement. I then had to come straight out and ask him, seeing that I had just blown his argument out of the water, if he would at least meet me in order to discuss my proposal. he said he would but I have still not heard anything. I might just give them a call.

On another note; WiFi on trains continues to be a hot topic across the globe.Thalys launched their service around the same time as my previous blogpost.
TrainComms 2008 the world largest conference on Trains and communications is taking place in London on the 11th & 12th of June. WiFi aboard trains is their main theme for the conference.

There is also a good blog on Blog4IT on wifi on trains. Some quotes from the article:
“Major European, US and Asian operators are rapidly following the UK’s lead and introducing on-board, high-speed wireless Internet connections for their passengers.”

“As Graham Wilde, CEO of BWCS, put it, “This year there has been an unprecedented number of new services and trials launched. From the West Coast of America, to India and Australia, we are seeing more interest than ever in these on-board WiFi systems.” He went on “train companies are fired up by a heady combination of introducing cost-saving applications for their own operations and adding new, income-generating, entertainment services for their passengers.”

The full article can be read here..

I think that it’s time to put more pressure on Irish rail to provide this service. It will lead to increased ticket sales (especially for the premium rate ticket), will most likely also lead to an increased spend per traveler, it opens up a number of new avenues for information dissemination, improves communication etc.
It will also get people to get out of their car and into the train which in turn will lead to less congested roads and lower CO2 emissions.
Combine that with the fact that because of our offer it would not require any investment in infra-structure for Irish Rail and I really cannot see how they can refuse any longer. Can you?


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