The best things in life are free, so the song says. In many cases that doesn’t apply to wi-fi on trains. The RM summarises the current situation.
Most people on the move these days use a smartphone or tablet to keep in touch with the latest news and travel information, to catch up with friends through social media sites, or their business, using email.
However, regular rail passengers have become disillusioned with the paucity of 3G and 4G mobile signals on major rail routes. GPRS or Edge is no good for tablets or smartphones, yet that’s the best you get in some areas, and mobile signals still tend to be poor or non-existent in many of the most remote parts of the UK.
The majority of new trains being built now come with wi-fi, but with some operators (see table below) it’s not free, unless you are in first class. Consequently, the lack of free wi-fi is one of the biggest gripes of today’s traveller. When you’ve paid £50, £100 or more for your ticket, it really rubs your nose in it when a train company wants even more from you for wi-fi access.
Read more in September’s issue of The RMEnjoy more of The Railway Magazine reading every month. Click here to subscribe.