Tuesday: go to train station to buy a round-trip ticket to Kitchener. “Does the train have wireless?” “Let me check… yes, that train has wireless.”
Wednesday: get on the train, turn on laptop, try to connect to the Internet. 24 hours of wireless for $8.95 plus taxes sounds pretty good: I’ll have almost for hours to get some work done. Sign up, pay, log in, start catching up on mail…
15 minutes later, the train leaves the station, and the connection dies. I wait a few minutes (maybe they reboot when they switch to internal power?), but there’s nothing. “Excuse me, conductor, but I’ve having trouble with my wireless connection.” “Oh, there’s no wireless on this train, sir, we don’t have the special dish thing.” “But I specifically asked…” “Oh, you’d have to take that up with customer service, sir, there’s nothing I can do.”
Ninety minutes later: as I’m getting off the train in Kitchener, I see a big Via Rail WiFi access sign on the wall. Cool—my train back isn’t ’til 9:45 pm, so after dinner, I can hang out at the train station and catch up on some work.
Conversation and lunch (thanks, Michael #1), more conversation and a guest lecture (thanks, Paul), dinner (thanks, Michael #2), and I’m back at the train station. Turn on my laptop—nothing that calls itself Via. “Excuse me, Ms. Ticket Vendor, but I can’t get on the wireless network.” “Oh, there’s no wireless here any more, sir.” “But what about that sign?” “Oh, we haven’t been told to take it down yet.”
Later: Via refunded my money — apparently I’m not the first (or first thousandth ) person to complain.