Transport giant Go North East is leading the way in connectivity after spending £22m on providing free onboard Wi-Fi.
The firm, the region’s largest bus company, has introduced Wi-Fi on more than one in five of its modern fleet of buses, having made the significant spend during the last two years to June of this year.
At the moment 120 buses have Wi-Fi available to passengers, most of which have had the service specified from new, while five have had it retrofitted.
The firm, which operates services throughout Tyne & Wear, County Durham and Northumberland with a fleet of more than 700 buses, said the free service is available on its more popular routes but that many more buses will come on board during the next twelve months.
Stephen King, marketing and sales manager at Go North East, said: “We recognised that the ability to stay connected and in touch while on the move would become an important feature of travel.
“Not only were we the first bus company in the region to provide free Wi-Fi, we’ve also equipped more of our buses than any other operator.
“We have 120 buses fitted with free customer Wi-Fi – that’s more than any other bus company in the North East.”
Stephen King said: “Free Wi-Fi means that bus passengers can browse the internet, check social media, work or play games on their phones, tablets and iPads during their journey – making it either productive and useful or relaxing and entertaining, just as you wish. You can’t do that while driving a car or riding a train.
“Free Wi-Fi is an important part of our customer offering, helping to keep our customers connected while they’re on the go.
“Our key routes, linking Tyneside and Wearside from as far away as Middlesbrough, Durham, Hexham and Blyth, offer free wifi connectivity.
“While Wi-Fi is only free on trains for passengers in first class, and there’s no Wi-Fi on local trains, the bus is fast becoming the first choice for people who want to stay connected on the go.”
The spend comes a week after it emerged a deal to turn Newcastle and Gateshead into the two of the hottest Wi-Fi spots in the UK could go cold after the parent company of the Spanish firm asked to aid the scheme reportedly went bust.
Madrid-based Let¹s Gowex was said to be in crisis after officials revealed it would have to file for bankruptcy after its founder and chief executive admitted filing inaccurate accounts
It was in May of this year that Gowex (UK) Ltd announced a 10-year deal under which it would provide free Wi-Fi to Newcastle and Gateshead.