About three years ago, when I finished my master's degree at Columbia University, I penned a thesis chronicling the story of the Chinatown buses, and all of its craziness. Aside from all of the insane competition, vice and murder (go read my thesis), those buses are pretty standard -- they get you where you need to go quickly and cheaply. But when traveling by bus, it can be difficult to be productive while on the road, as there's no Internet on-board. But just as Internet is now getting rolled out on more and more planes, Internet on long-distance buses is coming soon as well.
Last year, I reported for the World and for Wired News about the world's first cross-border international Wi-Fi-enabled bus line between Tallinn (Estonia) and Riga, the capital of neighboring Latvia. Estonian Wi-Fi evangelist Veljo Haamer collaborated with an Estonian bus line, Hansa Buss, to bring Internet access to the nearly four-hour trip.
But just the other day, Veljo sent me a message from yet another cross-border bus line -- but this time to the east instead of the south. Thanks to Veljo's efforts, Eurolines, a major European bus company, now offers free Wi-Fi on its Tallinn-St. Petersburg routes, a journey of about seven hours. He also reports that each seat comes with power plugs, so you don't have to worry about having to put away your laptop after only a couple of hours. Fan-freaking-tastic !
If you're stateside, fear not -- there are now loads of bus companies up and down the Atlantic seaboard that are offering on-board Wi-Fi as well. Both the New York Daily News and, more recently, the New York Times are reporting on all of the bus companies that are adding Wi-Fi to their routes.
Here's the Daily News on the mechanics of setting up Wi-Fi.