SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

Free wi-fi bid on buses, trains

Wired for sound: Plan for free wi-fi bid on buses and trains. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Transport Minister Dean Nalder wants to introduce free wi-fi throughout Perth's public transport network.

He has asked the Public Transport Authority to investigate the feasibility of the move, along with the possibility of installing recharging portals on buses and trains.

"It seems to be the logical extension of our focus towards creating smarter transport options around Perth," Mr Nalder said. "Staying connected is important for many people.

"And with Generation Ys representing more than one-third of all local train and bus commuters, a free wi-fi service would be a popular and attractive initiative."

Figures released by the Public Transport Authority yesterday show that commuters aged between 18 and 25 made up 38 per cent of all bus users and 36 per cent of all train users - up from about 30 per cent four years ago.

The increase has been partly attributed to new communication technologies and the desire by young people to "stay connected".

"Previous generations found freedom and flexibility through the car," Curtin University's Professor Peter Newman said.

"But Generation Ys find their freedom and flexibility by staying connected to their friends, family and workplaces through the various information devices - like their laptops or iPhones.

"They can stay connected on a bus or a train. They can bring the office with them. They can bring their study with them.

"They can bring their friends with them. They can't if they're driving."

Public transport authorities in other Australian cities have been rolling out free wi-fi - either on buses and trains or at stations.

Sydney ferry passengers have had free wi-fi since 2011 and it is available for train passengers on platforms at Central station in the CBD. The Northern Territory Government provides free public wi-fi hotspots at some metropolitan bus interchanges in Darwin and Alice Springs.

Free wi-fi is available on the CityCat and QueenslandRail transport systems and the Adelaide Metro has free wi-fi on its trams and buses.

The London cabs introduced by the Barnett Government in October 2013 also have free wi-fi.