The article has two points worth noting. First, the initial trial will expand from the four downtown San Francisco stations to the big underground areas:
If a deal is struck, Lee says WiFi Rail will install the system on BART’s most heavily traveled underground routes â€“ in Oakland, San Francisco and the Transbay Tube â€“ within 120 days. Coverage for BART’s entire 103-mile system would follow.
The underground core of the BART system runs from the four downtown SF stations, the Transbay Tube, and the Oakland Wye (roughly West Oakland north to 19th Street and west to Lake Merritt).
The article then quotes Wi-Fi Rail’s corporate counsel as adding 45 minutes to a workday:
“Take a BART rider who gets on at Walnut Creek and spends 45 minutes going to downtown San Francisco” and back, says [Gilles] Attia [Wi-Fi Rail’s corporate lawyer]. By plugging in, “he’s added 1 1/2 hours to his work day.”
Mr. Attia works in Sacramento, so he may not have first-hand experience with BART. Assuming that I’ve got the bounds of the expanded Wi-Fi Rail deployment right, it’s not that big. Lake Merritt to Civic Center (on my commute) is 16 minutes. 19th Street/Oakland to Civic Center is 18 minutes. 19th Street/Oakland to Lake Merritt is only 5 minutes.
Since my initial report on the unreliability of Wi-Fi Rail a year ago, I haven’t found that the service in train cars has improved. Service is faster and more robust on the platform, but I still find the service on the train spotty.