NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers won't be able to go underground to escape calls from the boss much longer — the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began launching cell phone service in its subway stations Tuesday.
The new service went live in six stations in Chelsea. Crews plan to wire another 271 stations during the next five years, bringing Internet and voice calling to the subway's 4.3 million daily riders.
"They are already the most connected population in the world — they'll now have wireless, voice and data access downstairs here in the subway system," said William Bayne, chief executive of Transit Wireless, the company that is installing the system.
Only AT&T and T-mobile phones will work at first, but the MTA says it hopes to have other carriers on board soon. The signal covers station areas but not tunnels.
The network will cost between $100 million and $200 million and is being built with private money, the MTA says. Eventually the agency will get a share of the money generated by calls.
The first stations to get the service are:
— The A, C, E station at Eighth Avenue and West 14th Street.
— The L station at Eighth Avenue and West 14th Street.
— The C and E station at Eighth Avenue and West 23rd Street.
— The 1, 2, and 3 station at Seventh Avenue and West 14th Street.
— The F and M station at Sixth Avenue and West 14th Street.
— The L station at Sixth Avenue and West 14th Street.
Cellphone service has been available in underground stations and tunnels in San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system since 2006 and in Boston's subway system since 2007.