The Courier Mail reports that from 2010 commuters with laptops catching their high-speed Citytrain in south-east Queensland will have high-speed Internet access on their high-speed train trips. The state’s transport minister Ms Nolan said new wireless equipment to allow security footage to be streamed in real time to Queensland Rail’s control room at Central Station in Brisbane, would also create wireless Internet access at stations and on trains. “This means that commuters will be able to log on to the Internet and catch up on emails on their train ride to work or while waiting at a station,” she said yesterday. “Access to wireless Internet is becoming more and more important in people’s professional and social lives, and this technology means a journey on the train can become even more attractive to commuters.”
Ms Nolan said the scheme, which would cost Queensland Rail between $1 million and $4 million, was expected to be available in every train and station in the Citytrain network by early 2010. The new technology would make Queensland the only state in Australia where commuters could rely on constant wireless access. She said people living near train lines or stations would not be able to tap into the free Internet service because it would be “fire-walled”. The wireless system should go to tender in July and be rolled out in 2010.
Of course, the scheme will be great for anyone who wants to sit back and relax by surfing, writing mails or use the various Internet means to chat with friends and family. But: it will also lead to an extension of work hours and an increase of workload, with all the negative consequences for people’s health attached. It’s personal choice of course whether to continue to work on the way home from work or to begin working before even arriving at your desk; at the same time the very fact that such service are offered now to work commuters shows how much the pressure has increased in our society on people to become more and more ‘productive’. No wonder depression and other mental health problems start to slowly eclipse all other health concerns.