The MTA entered into an agreement with a new start up company to connect the subways and stations to allow riders to use their cell phones. The problem is that the company, Transit Wireless, has no track record and the deal shows many of the signs of being too good to be true.
What I see happening here is that the MTA has set itself up to be screwed. They allowed the awarding of the contract without initially requiring that Transit Wireless was properly funded and bonded. After some pushing by city council, the MTA is now requiring Transit Wireless to get funding and bonding by its major contractors.
The deal the MTA entered into is supposed to cost the MTA absolutely nothing and it has the possibility of earning the MTA a little bit of cash. I doubt that will be the case. The deal has already cost the MTA money. Conveniently, the money spent to investigate, write up the specs and bid the contract are ignored. Money will continue to be spent to monitor performance once the wireless network in in place as well as additional indirect costs.
Personally I think the MTA rushed this cell phone plan through. Bit on the first bid and ran with it. That move may turn around to bite them back.
Additionally related to the upcoming wired subway network, New York City Council is urging the MTA to have "quiet" cars where riders could go to get away from their fellow travellers who insist on yakking away on their phones. It won't be officially enforced but enforced by the fellow passengers. Yeah, that will work well. It's just like passengers stopping other passengers from committing vandalism and littering.
I sense problems ahead in the MTA's rush to wire up the subway system given what I have seen so far. This plan really should have had more time to properly investigate as well as properly choose a provider that at least had a track record of delivering what they promise.