Traincomms News from BWCS

Huge Passenger Survey Underlines Importance of On-Board Connectivity

Thursday 25 Nov 2021

Demand for decent data connnections on public transport is stronger than ever claims a wide-ranging new study commissioned by BAI Communications. According to the report, support for the idea of governments investing in wireless and fibre network infrastructure is at record levels. In fact, some 93% of respondents backed this idea.

The study, which is based on over 2,500 interviews with subway, light rail, bus and ferry passengers in five major cities, is one of the most comprehensive, recently produced investigations into passenger attitudes. A clear majority of the respondents, who were based in New York, Sydney, Toronto, Hong Kong and London, replied that, as passengers, they want three core things. These boiled down to improved safety and cleanliness, advanced technology to support high-quality connectivity on-the-go, and increased spending on communications infrastructure to improve the overall transit experience.

Among the most interesting findings of the survey is that around three-quarters of working respondents said they would use public transport more often between meetings if they had fast, reliable connectivity to enable them to work on board.  

Good news for transport operators emerged with the response from just under half of those interviewed that they would be prepared to pay more for public transport, providing it offered uninterrupted mobile coverage and high-speed internet across the entire trip. This figure has consecutively increased over the last three years that the survey has been carried out.

In addition, 88% of respondents said they would take advantage of a fast, secure and robust internet or data connection during their trips. Almost half (49%) would use their connection to stream video while 37% and 36% would use the network to upload documents to the cloud and participate video calls and conferences, respectively.

A key finding for mobile operators may be that 81% of those replying to the survey in the five cities said that they would consider switching mobile carriers to get better service on transport systems. This marked a 12% increase since 2019.

The full report can be accessed here:

Connectivity outlook report 2021 by BAI Communications

Among the top findings:

83% of passengers expect public transport systems to be safe or clean.

Just over half (51%) of passengers say they would take public transport more if it were safer, a significant jump from 42% in 2020.

68% of passengers would like to see connectivity-related safety features in the public transportation system.

43% of passengers increased their use of public transport thanks to safety and public health technologies offered in their cities.

Passengers in all cities noted an increased desire in 2021 to use apps to alert them to environmental conditions along the commute, such as temperature or pollution levels. They are also not opposed to their anonymised data being used to personalise their experience and improve transport service overall.


Track-side connectivity and on-board WiFi provision were the main subjects of BWCS’s recent Traincomms Conference in London on the 16th and 17th of November

Please see where you can also sign up for our Free WiFi on Trains News Service.

Or, to discuss speaking and sponsorship opportunities, please contact

The 2021 conference ( was sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, RADWIN, BAI Communications, Westermo and GlobalReach Technology.

◀ Back