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Photo by Kurt Schlosser.
Photo by Kurt Schlosser.

WiFi service on Washington State Ferries (WSF) is ending June 30, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

Data-enabled mobile devices are partly responsible for crippling Boingo’s ferry service. The ubiquity of smartphones allows passengers to check email and surf the web without needing WiFi.

Boingo, a Los Angeles-based WiFi hotspot company, has been providing internet on Washington ferries since 2008. Incorporating the nation’s largest ferry system seemed like a win for Boingo at the time, but adoption of the for-purchase service was low.

In 2015, just two percent of ferry passengers purchased WiFi, according to WSF Communications Manager Brian Mannion. He said response to the announcement has been “pretty low-key,” with few complaints from commuters. WSF’s contract with Boingo ended in November of last year, but both parties agreed to extend the service through June.

“WSF continues to search for viable options to improve connectivity aboard our ferries,” WSDOT said in an announcement Thursday. “Until then, passengers are advised to use mobile data where available.”

“We’re still open to partnering with someone that could bring WiFi to the ferries but in the meantime, in the past decade that we’ve been working with this marine WiFi system, mobile connectivity has, in a lot of places, increased,” said Mannion.

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