M.T.A. Expected to Announce Subway Cell Service Today

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected to announce a deal today that would allow subway commuters to use cell phones on subway platforms.

Six subway stations will pilot the program over the next two years; ultimately 277 stations will be hooked up.

The deal has been years in the making. Most recently, in January of 2006, the M.T.A. received four bids from service providers, but negotiations had stalled.

While cell phone use will be enabled on platforms it will not be available in the subway tunnels. Those who have had to endure rides on Metro North and the L.I.R.R. seated next to gabby phoners will appreciate that, one riders' advocate told The New York Sun.

"'It pits people who have legitimate concerns about security against people who say it's the only part of the day when they can read a book, and they resent hearing someone talk about what a swine their business partner is,' [Gene] Russianoff said."

The report does not reveal the identity of the service provider.