From left, Mayor Jerry Dyer, and Councilmembers Miguel Arias, Esmeralda Soria and Tyler Maxwell take the FAX WiFi for a spin Friday. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
A pilot program to install WiFi on FAX buses in Fresno is now online.
The City of Fresno’s Department of Transportation (FAX) held a press conference at the Fresno North BRT Station next to the downtown Water Tower to celebrate the rolling out of 18 city buses with public WiFi capabilities.
Mayor Jerry Dyer was joined by FAX leaders, as well as city council members that had been advocates for WiFi on city buses in the past.
The pilot program is first being deployed on Route 1, which runs from the Woodward Park area to Downtown Fresno and to Clovis Avenue near Balch avenue.
“This project was six years in the making, and today we can finally say that FAX is even better than it already was because we have WiFi on FAX buses in the City of Fresno,” Dyer said.
The WiFi system was tested for about a month to ensure safety from hacks.
Users of the city buses’ WiFi can expect up to four megabytes of download speed per second, allowing users to meet their internet needs while on the bus.
The more users that access the WiFi at any given time will lead to slower speeds, Mayor Dyer said.
The plan is to eventually add WiFi access to the entire FAX fleet consisting of 125 buses.
The cost for installing WiFi on 18 buses with existing WiFi equipment totaled about 25,000 and to service the 18 buses will cost about $12,000 per year.
The estimated cost to make the entire FAX fleet WiFi capable from scratch is estimated at $250,000.
Dyer said that one of the most vocal advocates for the program was Councilmember Esmeralda Soria. He also credited Tyler Maxwell and Miguel Arias for their work.
“It will improve the experience of riders, and it will motivate more to maybe take the bus. We know it can take a bus a long time to get from one end of town to another. So while on the bus, they could be working or doing other sorts of activities on the internet,” Soria said.