VIRGIN TRAINS is to offer free wifi to standard class passengers but some of the region’s commuters say it will need to be improved before it is launched.
It comes after years of costly internet tariffs for standard class passengers using Pendolino trains between Manchester and London, where wifi will be made free on January 19th, 2019.
Plans for free wifi on the Pendolino fleet were announced back in 2014 but work to provide free wifi will start in May.
But Bethan Holmes, 21 of Salford says the wifi onboard will need to be improved before it is available to everyone.
“I pay quite a lot of money for a first class ticket and the wifi doesn’t always work, I can’t imagine what it will be like for those in standard.”
Miss Holmes recently travelled to London with her sister to see The Lion King but experienced issues with the complimentary wifi offered.
“My sister couldn’t connect to the wifi, it was slow. Her Instagram and Snapchat didn’t load. The staff were great but wifi horrendous.”
To allow passengers to use wifi, the Pendolino fleet rely on 4G masts similar to a mobile phone which provide a continuous internet connection up to speeds of 92Mbps.
Currently, a 24-hour pass is charged at £5, a 7-day pass is £10 and a 1-month pass is £30 and it is free for passengers in first class.
However commuter, Bryan Mottram, 26 of Oldham, occasionally pays for a first class upgrade to access wifi but says he struggles with the connection.
“Every time I travel I struggle to load even the start-up page. I have the latest MacBook so it isn’t a case of old technology.”
“You can get better wifi 30,000 feet in the air, so why is it not possible on a train journey between the two major cities in the UK.”
In response, Virgin Trains said limited equipment caused slower wifi and told us that as each train is upgraded, passengers will have increased speeds, but declined to comment on individual cases.
Once the wifi is rolled out next year, all Pendolino trains between Glasgow/Manchester and London will take advantage of upgraded internet speeds up to 1000mbps.
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