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New York City promises your cellphone will work in subway tunnels — in about 10 years

July 27, 2022
2 min read
people getting on subway
New York City promises your cellphone will work in subway tunnels — in about 10 years
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If you've ever been on the New York City subway in the middle of a very important (or not-at-all important) phone call, only to have the call drop when you went through tunnels underground, relief may be in your future. You'll have to wait up to 10 years for it, though.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced plans to expand cellphone coverage throughout the city's subway tunnels. It will also expand Wi-Fi service at above-ground stations, as well as Staten Island Railway stations. The work won't be fully completed, however, for a decade. In the meantime, expanded service will rollout as work is completed in various spots around the city.

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MTA plans to invest more than $1 billion over the next decade to give riders full cellphone service while on the train and in between stations. A partnership with 5G wireless infrastructure company Transit Wireless will make this feat possible on the system's 418 miles of subway tunnels.

All underground stations have had cellphone service and Wi-Fi since 2017. However, the proposed agreement — which was approved by the MTA Finance Committee before being sent to the MTA board for full approval — would expand cellphone service and Wi-Fi connectivity to the tunnels and above-ground stations.

“Bringing cell connectivity to the tunnels between stations and Wi-Fi to above-ground stations is a major step forward in enhancing transit riders’ experience,” MTA CEO Janno Lieber said in a statement July 26. “And the deal MTA has landed will also help the MTA’s bottom line – a major concern as the pandemic winds down.”

MTA will equip the remaining 191 above-ground subway stations and 21 Staten Island Railway stations with Wi-Fi, joining the rest of the 281 underground subway stations that already have Wi-Fi.

This project is part of an ongoing effort to modernize the rider experience on the country's largest public transit system. The service nearly reached pre-pandemic ridership levels earlier this year, with 3.5 million trips on May 5, but it's still well below the average 5.5 million weekday riders seen in 2019, per Bloomberg.

Read more: Meet the man responsible for bringing tourists back to New York City

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases