Access to the wireless internet will be available free of charge on the TransLink transformation system starting in 2020.
Within a year or more, TransLink customers will have free wireless internet access during their commutes.
On Wednesday, the regional licensing authority announced that he had a partnership with the Shaw telecommunications company to offer the service on its SkyTrain, SeaBuses and buses.
"This will have a huge impact on our customers' experience," said Kevin Desmond, CEO of TransLink. "They will be able to surf, stream, contact family and friends and have some commuting work."
Desmond said that the Wi-Fi will not become costless for TransLink than to customers. Under the agreement, Shaw will install and operate the system, and it will be accessible to all, even if they are not Shaw customers. The deal is the first of its kind in Canada.
Since 2016, Wi-Fi wires were free at SeaBus and on SeaBuses through a similar agreement with Shaw.
When asked if consumers will have to go through advertisements to access the wireless internet, Desmond said it was a possibility.
"All operational details over the next number of months will be set out. That could be part of the package, but we have to see how that will play out," he said.
TransLink and Shaw will be working on designing the system and intend to conduct trials in 2019, with customers being able to access Wi-Fi in 2020. TransLink expects the entire network to be completed by 2025 The delivery process will happen with SkyTrain and buses.
Ultimately, the plan is to have Wi-Fi on all modes of transportation, including HandyDart, West Coast Express and community exchanges.
Guy Akester, program director and TransLink real estate partnerships said that although there were limited trials on SeaBus and six buses, it will take the system to take four or five years because there are more than 2,000 vehicles and wear the appropriate equipment "It will be extremely complicated."
"What we do not want to do is that we do not want to introduce 2,000 moving vehicles and we need to pull them all back to the depot and try something different," he said. "That's why it will take a bit. We want to get it right the first time."