Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority riders now have continuous cell phone service on the Orange Line as part of a growing effort to provide wireless access on the T.
Speaking at the Ruggles Station Friday, newly appointed General Manager Richard Davey said the cell phone access will generate increased revenue for the deficit-weary MBTA. AT&T and T-Mobile will provide the service and pay the MBTA approximately $340,000 in total fees per year.
Davey said riders with other cell phone carriers should urge their respective providers to institute subway-line service.
Starting in May, the T plans to develop wireless service on the Red Line between the Charles/MGH and JFK/UMass stops. Designs for the Green and Blue Lines are in progress.
Davey and Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan also used the opportunity Friday to ask riders to be alert in the wake of increased phone thefts on trains and buses.
The MBTA reported 46 smart-phone thefts already this year — nearly double the number at this time in 2009. Last year, 134 smart-phones were reported stolen.
"While we appreciate that wireless access is a convenience for all of our customers, we encourage riders to be aware of their surroundings while traveling on the system and not use their phones near vehicle doors during station stops or when exiting the station," MacMillan said.
To fight the increase in cell phone thefts, the MBTA is instituting a program of PA announcements at T stations around the city, as well as 400 posted informational cards.
"Show how smart you are," Davey advised. "We'll be asking our passengers not only to keep their personal devices on them and hidden, but if they are stolen or if there are any issues, the transit police will be available to assist."
This program aired on March 26, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.