The MBTA is starting to get wired.
South Station will have free wireless internet beginning today, according to a joint press release from Google, Redevelopment Ventures Corp. and the MBTA.
Google invested in the endeavor and Redevlopment Ventures Corp. is responsible for WiFi development, the press release says.
“Anything that improves our customers’ transit experience is a good thing,” MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott said in the statement. “By coupling this new initiative with the WiFi service provided on Commuter Rail trains, the MBTA is keeping its customers connected from the moment they enter South Station to the time they exit trains.”
Drivers who are considering a switch to electric vehicles or current vehicle owners looking for a place nearby to charge their rides have a couple of places to find their outlet.
In the South End, the closest charging station is at Boston Medical Center garage, at 710 Albany St., according to crowd-sourced website carstations.com. Carstations allows users to upload new car charging locations to a Google map and (when applicable) provides details on the station.
There are also more official sites providing electric car charging information. This week, NSTAR launched a new hotline and website to provide customers with information about electric vehicles, including local options for charging, payment options and details about electric vehicle technology, according to a statement released Wednesday.
Launched in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the new information center is a key part of a pilot program designed to help the state establish an electric vehicle infrastructure and continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the NSTAR statement.
Short-range Amtrak travel has soared over the past 15 years and Boston’s Back Bay and South Station are stops on the two most popular routes in the Northeast Corridor.
According to a Brookings Institution report, Amtrak ridership has grown by 55 percent since 1997 — most of this increase is short-distance routes (less than 400 miles). Eighty-three percent of all Amtrak ridership in 2012 was via short-distance routes.
The two most popular routes in the Northeast Corridor are the Acela and Northeast Regional, which both make stops in Boston. Both routes are slightly more than 300 miles.
The Acela had 3.395 million riders in 2012 while the Northeast Regional, which makes more stops, had more than 8 million riders. That’s an increase of 1 million riders in 15 years for the Northeast Regional (the Acela did not exist in 1997), according to the report.
“Those two routes generated a net operating balance of $ 205.4 million in 2011, with $ 178.8 million derived from Acela operations alone. This is not a new phenomenon as over the five fiscal years ending in 2011, these two Northeast Corridor routes delivered an average positive balance of $ 135.9 million per year. They also generated this return via their own operations—the two routes received essentially no state funding support for operations during those five years,” according to the report.