Free Wi-Fi connects bus riders to Independence jobs

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The city is using technology to connect it's bus riders with job opportunities here.

Some say free wi-fi can help the city in more ways than one.

The idea is a simple one: City leaders believe those who regularly ride public transit are probably looking to improve their lives.

So why not help them with free internet access on all Indy buses that automatically connects riders to a homepage listing job openings from employers throughout the city.

The mayor says about one out of five people in Independence live without internet access and that means being left behind in the search for good paying careers.

"A lot of (riders) are employed, but looking for better employment," said Mayor Eileen Weir, of Independence. "We felt combining the two, free public wi-fi and connecting it directly to this employment site, it really gives people the opportunity to understand opportunities for employment that are available right here in city of Independence."

The city is spending $10,000 to install free Wi-Fi service on all Indy buses, with continuing maintenance costs estimated at less than $5,000 a year. Any employer in Independence can post job listings on the indepworks.com homepage.

The city also has added an extra hour of bus service to all of it's routes, after receiving complaints from workers that they they couldn't ride the bus to get home from their jobs after their shifts end.