NEW YORK CITY, USA, 29th August 2016 – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has partnered with Transit Wireless and Penguin Random House to launch “Subway Reads,” a special eight-week long joint promotion celebrating the installation of free wireless connectivity in more than 175 underground subway stations. The promotion will provide customers with access to five free e-shorts, as well as extensive samples from full-length books, to enjoy while on the subway.
“New York’s transportation network must continue adapting to the changing needs of its ridership and a key part of that is delivering the amenities that have become essential components of everyday life,” Governor Cuomo said. “Bringing Wi-Fi into underground stations helps riders stay connected throughout their commute, allowing them to check in with friends or family and access news or entertainment. We’ve made tremendous progress in modernizing the system and Subway Reads is a fun way to introduce riders to the new Wi-Fi experience.”
Subway Reads builds on Governor Cuomo’s mandate for the MTA to accelerate the introduction of Wi-Fi to all 278 underground subway stations by the end of 2016. Recently added stations include the first six Wi-Fi activated stations in Brooklyn and Downtown Manhattan; you can find the latest Wi-Fi-enabled stations using the newly designed Transit Wireless WiFi™ coverage map.
Customers who visit one of the more than 175 underground subway stations will be able to log into the free Transit Wireless Wi-Fi and access two different categories of content:
As part of “Subway Reads,” Penguin Random House created a special platform to offer subway customers free access to five full length e-shorts, including High Heat, a Jack Reacher novella by Lee Child; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic short story, The Diamond As Big As The Ritz; 3 Truths and A Lie, a short story by Lisa Gardner; The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe; and At the Reunion Buffet by Alexander McCall Smith.
Samples of Full Length Books & “Read Time”
Subway customers will also be able to access extensive excerpts from 175 Penguin Random House publications. While selections come from a wide range of authors from all over the world, Penguin Random House included as many titles by New Yorkers – or about New York – as possible. As a result, selections include poetry by essential New York poets Walt Whitman and Billy Collins, former poet laureate of the United States, acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction including Beloved by Toni Morrison, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann, Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben, and Open City by Teju Cole, as well as Spanish-language titles such as Manuscrito Encontrado en Accra by Paulo Coelho, Así es Como la Pierdes by Junot Díaz, and El cuaderno de Maya by Isabel Allende.
In order to optimize the reading experience for commuters, Penguin Random House also has created a special feature for the book excerpts called ‘read time’ that enables customers to sort the short stories and samples by the amount of time it would take the average reader to complete them. A commuter who expects to spend half an hour on the train could, for example, click “30 minutes” on the Penguin Random House page, and be given a list of stories or samples that would take that long to read.
MTA customers will also be able to purchase the e-books in the promotion directly from various retailers with the click of a button and the MTA will receive a revenue share for any books actually sold.
MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said, “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Transit Wireless and Penguin Random House to celebrate the key milestone of connectivity in the first 175 subway stations, and we’re even more excited to be well on our way to fulfilling Governor Cuomo’s mandate to bring Wi-Fi service to all 278 underground stations by the end of the year. The Subway Reads promotion is a great way to mark our progress, build traffic for our business partnership with Transit Wireless, and give our customers access to great content that they can enjoy during their subway ride.”
New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim said, “We see Wi-Fi connectivity as a great way to improve the customer experience and give our customers more options than ever before. This promotion is a fun way to highlight the progress we’ve made so far – particularly because reading has been a key part of the New York commute for as long as there has been a New York commute. From Walt Whitman’s “Crossing on the Brooklyn Ferry” – the best commuting poem ever – to short stories and selections from great writers, including New Yorkers such as Lee Child, Toni Morrison, Patti Smith, and Jonathan Lethem, ‘Subway Reads’ really does connect New York travel to New York creativity.”
Transit Wireless CEO William A. Bayne said, “Our partnership with the MTA andNew York City Transit continues to progress in bringing Wi-Fi, and public safety services to more riders in the subway system’s underground stations. We’re pleased that as customer usage of our expansive Wi-Fi network increases, so does the interest from national brands and advertisers such as Penguin Random House, which seek innovative ways to reach New Yorkers and visitors on the go. At the same time, the feedback from riders has been overwhelmingly in favor of accelerating connectivity, so we are working to complete the project almost two years ahead of schedule.”
Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle said, “For millions of New Yorkers, having a few minutes to get lost in a great book is one of the true pleasures of riding the subway. This fun promotion provides commuters with a new twist on that classic – and classically New York – pastime, with great short fiction, and the chance to access extensive samples of some of the very best, and most entertaining books in the world.”
The construction of the Wi-Fi and, public safety network began in 2011 with the connection of six underground stations in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, and was slated for completion in 2018. However, at the direction of Governor Cuomo, the process has been accelerated, with Wi-Fi connectivity in all underground stations scheduled for the end of 2016, almost two years ahead of the original schedule. Currently, all stations in the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx have been completed while the remainder of Manhattan and Brooklyn underground stations will be finished by the end of the year.
MTA Partnership with Transit Wireless
Transit Wireless has a 27-year partnership agreement with the MTA to design, build, operate and maintain cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in the underground subway stations. The company is investing well over $250 million into this infrastructure project and is sharing revenues derived through the services with the MTA. The project is being built at no cost to taxpayers or subway customers.
Within this project, MTA and Transit Wireless are working together on the deployment of specific communications technologies to enhance public safety, including a dedicated 4.9 GHz public safety broadband network and the highly visible Help Point Intercoms. These instant communication kiosks offer immediate access to E911 assistance and information with the touch of a button. To date, Transit Wireless has built the infrastructure for more than 1,200 Help Point Intercoms in 175 underground MTA stations. This network now provides thousands of MTA employees, contractors, and first responders connected capability as never before.
About Transit Wireless and Transit Wireless WiFi™
Transit Wireless was formed to meet the MTA’s requirement to develop a shared wireless infrastructure within 278 underground stations of the New York City subway to provide commercial services for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless customers. The company is designing, building, operating and financing development of a highly resilient wireless network supporting consumer connectivity, business connectivity, transit and public safety communications needs by operating on all primary licensed cellular bands, public unlicensed bands and the 4.9GHz public safety band. Transit Wireless has launched the Transit Wireless WiFi™ network within the underground subway stations, an initiative that has been recognized by the Wireless Broadband Alliance as the “Best Wi-Fi Deployment to Connect the Unconnected in an Urban Environment.” Transit Wireless is a BAI Communications company, part of a global enterprise that designs, builds and operates highly accessible communications networks for customers across Australia, Asia and North America. For further information about Transit Wireless go to: www.transitwireless.com.
About Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House, as the world’s first truly global trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively. With nearly 250 independent imprints and brands on five continents, Penguin Random House comprises the adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, Penguin’s trade publishing activity in Asia and South Africa; DK Worldwide; and Penguin Random House Group Editorial offices in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Portugal, Uruguay and the U.S.
With more than 15,000 new titles, and close to 800 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 60 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors. Penguin Random House champions the creative and entrepreneurial independence of its publishers, who work tirelessly to maximize readership for their authors and protect their intellectual property. Learn more at www.penguinrandomhouse.com.