FREE wireless internet has been launched on trains between the Capital and Glasgow as part of a new £250,000 trial.
Passengers will have access to wi-fi on one in every ten journeys between the cities, giving them faster access to e-mail, internet and social media sites while the service is piloted.
If successful, free wi-fi will be rolled out on a permanent basis, with MSPs hoping to see the technology introduced on trains throughout the country. The move is the first step towards the Scottish Government’s long-term goal of rolling out wi-fi throughout Scotland, allowing passengers online access during their journey.
Transport Minister Keith Brown was today one of the first to get connected at Glasgow’s Queen Street station after boarding one of four Edinburgh-bound ScotRail trains being hooked up to the new system.
Mr Brown said: “I am delighted to kick off this wi-fi trial, which will play a massive part in ensuring future connectivity throughout Scotland’s transport network.
“A major challenge for transport operators is how to ensure we embrace new technologies to allow passengers to get on with their busy lives while travelling.
“Business organisations have been very clear that wi-fi access on commuter routes would boost competitiveness in Scotland, and this pilot is the first step to delivering that.”
Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said: “Customers should look out for wi-fi signage on train doors and windows, particularly on the Edinburgh-Glasgow route.
“The feedback we receive will play an important role in shaping the next steps for improving internet connectivity on our trains.”
Business leaders welcomed the move, insisting that the service would encourage more commuters to take the train.
Liz Cameron, Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive, said: “One of the key attractions of rail over road for many business travellers is the perceived ability to work effectively whilst travelling.
“In the modern day, this means that business people expect the ability to conduct telephone calls, to access wireless data networks and to have a comfortable and suitable environment in which to work.
“This pilot project is an essential first step towards delivering the kind of connectivity that business needs in Scotland, and we look forward to its extension to other routes as soon as possible.”