For many years we have used Internet at homes and offices on our bulky computers. With internet on-the-go, mobile devices offer new possibilities for commuters. For transportation and travel companies, offering passenger Wi-Fi is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity!

European commuters now expect to be connected during their journey. Different age groups of passengers need passenger Wi-Fi for various reasons. While monitoring traffic flow on large networks, the most common reasons why commuters demand passenger Wi-Fi are as follows:

  • Checking google maps
  • Checking flight/train/bus status for connecting route
  • Chatting with family, friends or colleagues using apps like Whatsapp
  • Social networking using apps like Instagram and Facebook
  • Streaming music/video for entertainment

Clearly, most commuters are in the habit of using Internet on-the-go for checking their whereabouts, talking to loved ones, coordinating work tasks and entertainment. Passengers now feel frustrated and angry when they are not connected to the Internet!

As a transport/travel company, offering a good passenger experience is the key to winning repeat customers and brand loyalty. This includes provision of quality Wi-Fi service. In a recent survey conducted by Wi-Fi in Motion, 91% of the 1000 bus riders surveyed said that they planned to use their mobile devices during their journey. The same study also identified the different usage needs for passenger connectivity.

  • Music – 59.3%,
  • Wi-Fi – 52.1%,
  • Email or Text – 48.9%,
  • Web Surfing 48.5%

In the case of the hospitality industry, ‘Free Wi-Fi’ now beats various other amenities like free breakfast or free parking while making a decision to book a hotel. This trend is now slowly reaching the transportation and travel industries too. Commuters can substantially increase their productivity if they are connected on-the-go.

CISCO now estimates that the number of globally mobile-connected devices per capita will reach 1.5 by 2021. That’s one and half device for every one person on the planet! Having passenger Wi-Fi is now a huge decision factor and quite often the ‘deal maker’ for commuters when they choose their mode of transport.

This is the reason why some of the largest operators and transport companies in Europe like Flixbus, Hansabus, Contiki, and Trafalgar Tours now offer high quality Wi-Fi to their passengers. Many train companies like Deutsche Bahn from Germany or Elron from Estonia now offer passenger Wi-Fi service to commuters on-board.

Many transport companies also use a their captive portal for Wi-Fi advertising. A captive portal is a web page which is displayed to newly connected users before they are granted access to Internet. This helps companies communicate with passengers in an unobtrusive way and also engage them by showcasing offer and deals on the captive portal web page.

If you’re a transport/travel company with a fleet of vehicles, it no longer makes sense to lose out to your competitors because of bad/no passenger Wi-Fi. Transportation and connectivity for many go hand-in-hand.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I work for a company called RebelRoam – an Internet service provider for the transportation and travel industries. We offer passenger Wi-Fi with simplified pay-as-you-go fully managed (with hardware and software) Internet plans for buses, trains, ferries and planes.