Wollongong misses out on trial of Wi-Fi in buses

A state government trial of free Wi-Fi on buses will not include Wollongong.
A state government trial of free Wi-Fi on buses will not include Wollongong.

A NSW government trial of a free Wi-Fi service on buses will not include those operating in the Illawarra, according to a State Transit spokeswoman.

The government will then wait until the end of the trial before making any decision on introducing the service to the Wollongong area.

The trial will see 50 buses operating with the so-called “CATCH” Wi-Fi running out of the Ryde, Waverley, Leichhardt and North Sydney depots.

“As buses are not designated to a particular route, these buses will be operating across State Transit’s entire Sydney network,” the State Transit spokeswoman said.

None of the bus companies in the Illawarra – which operate via government contracts – will be taking part in the trial.

“The trial of ‘CATCH’ technology is being run by APN Outdoor and began in mid-December 2016,” the spokeswoman said.

“The end date will be determined as the trial is further explored through the upcoming months.

“At this stage, this is a limited trial only on 50 State Transit buses, with the outcome of the trial determining any further roll-out to the rest of the transport network.”  

If the trial is successful, APN Outdoor said up to 1000 buses across the city could be fitted with the “CATCH” technology by the end of the year.

It is unclear at this stage whether only government buses would be fitted with “CATCH” at the end the trial or if those private companies operating under a government contract in regional areas would be eligible as well.

Passengers riding a bus that is participating in the trial will be prompted to download a free app that will provide them with internet access.

“We are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience across all public transport services, particularly when it comes to providing reliability and convenience,” NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.

“This trial will help us understand how reliable the technology is and how our customers would use it.”