Free Wi-Fi for Guildford and Woking Commuters
Free Wi-Fi is to be launched at five busy South West Trains stations in Hampshire and Surrey following a partnership agreement between the train operator, the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (Enterprise M3 LEP), Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council.
The free Wi-Fi will be provided by Sky Cloud, and rolled out at Aldershot, Basingstoke, Farnborough, Guildford, and Woking stations. The service has been funded through joint investment to promote sustainable travel in the region. Funding was provided directly by the Enterprise M3 LEP with Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council both making further funding contributions to the project following successful bidding to the Department for Transport as part of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
This is the latest stage in the shared vision to keep passengers connected whilst on the move and at stations in the area. Free Wi-Fi is also now available on over half of all South West Trains services and is helping to keep tens of thousands of passengers connected during their train journey. There are plans to roll out free on board Wi-Fi across more train services this year.
Passengers using Guildford are the first to benefit with the Wi-Fi now available at this station. All five stations will be complete by the autumn 2016. Around 26 million passenger journeys are made from these stations every year and passengers will be able to use the free service throughout the concourses, platforms, waiting areas and other public areas.
Arthur Pretorius, Customer Service Director for South West Trains, said: “Our on-board Wi-Fi has proved really popular with passengers, and we’re very pleased to be taking the next step of introducing free Wi-Fi at a number of our busy stations.
“We’d like to thank the Enterprise M3 LEP, Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council for their financial contributions and support in making these improvements for our passengers. With around 26 million passenger journeys made from these five stations every year, we’re sure this will significantly enhance the travel experience of our passengers.”
Councillor Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning at Surrey County Council said "While rising demand for services like adult social care means money's tight, this is one of the many things we can still do to make a big difference to people's everyday lives - in this case ensuring passengers are able to use travel time to shop, check emails, catch up on the news or a whole host of other things."
Geoff French, Chairman Enterprise M3 LEP said: “Funding free Wi-Fi at the busiest stations in the Enterprise M3 area, directly supports the Enterprise M3 LEP’s economic growth aspirations and provides a real benefit to our local businesses, enhancing travel choices and helping them to utilise their travel time more effectively.”
More than £50million is being invested by South West Trains to improve services offered to passengers. Other improvements include 100 new Customer Ambassadors to provide a more personalised service at stations, and state-of-the-art ticket machines linked to a new dedicated 24/7 customer contact centre.