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Central Manchester Trials Bus Stops with Free WiFi and USB Chargers

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016 (2:35 pm) - Score 828

Public bus transport in Manchester city centre is already quite well covered by free WiFi hotspots, but now Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has gone one further by deploying several “super” bus shelters that also offer free public WiFi connectivity and charging points for Smartphones.

At present the shelters only exist at a few points around the central Piccadilly station, although if the new “super shelters” prove to be successful then there are already some strong indications that they could be rolled out across the region.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM committee, said (MEN):

“This is a really exciting and unique scheme for Manchester as this pilot shelter is the first of its kind in the UK. One of our key aims is to provide an improved public transport network that encourages more people to choose sustainable and more environmentally friendly ways to travel – especially in the city centre.

Research indicates that improved public transport environments – with technology built in – encourage more people to use them and that’s what we’re testing out here. We’ll be asking people who use this bus stop for their views over the coming weeks and more new services and facilities could be trialled here.”

Apparently the funding for all this has come from the Government’s Department for Transport, although not everybody is happy at the idea of spending more on such shelters when local bus services in other areas are being reduced or removed entirely. Another fear is that the shelters could become the target of vandalism.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Simon Zerafa says:

    Hi,

    I could think of of a few issues with public USB charging and the security issues associated with this.

    Rouge or hacked chargers which download all of the user’s information or even implant malware. Not the least would be chargers which imply output high DC or AC voltages to damage phones deliberatly.

    How would these chargers secured both physically and from a software perspective? If banks can’t keep ATM’s from being modified to prevent card skimming then how is a local authority to monitor bus stops to prevent such malicious activity?

    Regards

    Simon

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Why would the USB charging points need to be connected to a digital network? I’d have thought they’d be supplied by direct power, like normal chargers.

    2. karl says:

      Use a proper USB charging cable then which only has the Power pair of cables in it and not a data pair.

  2. Ethel Prunehat says:

    > Why would the USB charging points need to be connected to a digital network? I’d have thought they’d be supplied by direct power, like normal chargers.

    Yes, that’s exactly how the operator would install them; in the same way that banks don’t put card skimmers in their ATMs, it’s an enterprising criminal who comes along later and does so. A power-only USB cable, if such a thing exists, would be the only sensible way to charge a device from an un-trusted source.

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