Geek transport

In the loop

On the subject of mobile phones, it’s astounding after all these years how many people look surprised when their phones (on any network) drop out in the City Loop.

Perhaps half of people, including myself, know this’ll happen. If I’m on the phone going into the tunnel, I’ll tell the other party I’m about to drop out, and I’ll ring them back later. And I’ve heard others say this.

But I’ve seen plenty who look surprised when it drops out, examine the phone carefully to try and work out if they accidentally pressed the Hang Up button.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

13 replies on “In the loop”

Times have changed Daniel. When I had my first analogue back in 1995 I expected dropouts simply by walking into an elevator, going into a sub-floor of a building, going under a bridge, heck simply driving too fast between towers.

Whereas it was only a few weeks ago I noticed I had walked into a lift, went up numerous floors, and came out again without even contemplating the possibility of my call dropping out.

If you never, ever, ever get dropouts anymore why would you even consider the possibility of it – unless there’s a specific spot you personally have experienced them before and know in all liklihood it will happen and thus, if on a call, will warn the other party you are likely to drop out. That said, you’ll still curse your provider for not giving a good enough service at that spot because we all expect better now.

Inside a train under Earth that has skyscrapers above it, however, is somewhat pushing the (current) laws of physics for radio transmission though…

I expect signal to drop out in the loop. What I don’t expect is to lose the signal just after Armadale station. I’m sure the call wasn’t urgent as he hasn’t rung me back after Friday, but I’m still annoyed.

Well they work in the Citylink and Eastlink tunnels so perhaps people just assume the phone companies have got their act together and installed cells in the loop tunnels. Obviously they haven’t.

I’m an infrequent user of trains, and like Philip would extrapolate from eastlink and Citylink tunnels and assume there are transmitters in the rail tunnels.
A few years ago the mobile signal would always drop on the the Westgate bridge (which I travel twice a day). I don’t know if it was just for my particular carrier, anyway it’s no longer a problem.

Just came back from Sydney this weekend; all the underground sections I travelled in (main city loop setup) had fine reception!

I certainly would be surprised that there are no cells inside the loop tunnels. The concentration of customers there must be higher than in the Eastlink and Citylink tunnels, after all. But, then, perhaps these are lower priority customers…

The signal always drops out in the lifts in my building. But it’s a near new building, I thought it would have been built smarter – my creaky old building had excellent lift reception

How funny is that?! When people still look at there phone in the loop when it drops out, especially between Parliament and Melb Central.

I also tell them I’m about to go through loop and I’ll call back, amazing how it almost always rings when you hit the loop.

Actually my favourite is the look of surprise on people’s faces when the tram suddenly takes off and they’re thrown backwards. Surely this is predictable – I mean, you board the tram for its ability to move forwards…

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