Seen last week in Oxford: certainly it's a European (and probably a world) first. The new OxfordTube buses shuttling 24/7 between Oxford and various London locations are equipped with free Internet wi-fi access, and power plugs. OxfordTube, which is controlled by transport group Stagecoach, has renewed its fleet of 25 large buses a couple of years ago. It fitted them late last year with wi-fi and launched an Internet-on-board trial using broadband cellular links and technology from UK firm Moovera. During the three-months test period, the company says, they logged 16'000 online sessions lasting on average 42 minutes, which prompted them to make the service permanent in early February. The same system is used by the company to track the buses' whereabouts, giving it a real-time, at-a-glance view of its fleet.
UPDATE - As Sami points out in the comments, Helsinki City Transport in Finland started in January a free wi-fi trial on several buses and trams. The system is also intended to "speed up public transport by giving vehicles linked to the system priority in traffic lights when needed".
UPDATE - Meanwhile, journalist Peter Wolf tells me that Swiss firm Hesscar has started testing Internet access in one of their buses already half a year ago (picture left). They use a different approach though: a Swisscom Unlimited wireless card (which uses the GPRS, UMTS or EDGE networks) is installed in a router in the trunk of the bus, and ethernet cables connect it to two of the firm's own laptops on board (passengers can connect their laptops, too).
UPDATE - According to Engadget some bus routes in the San Francisco Bay Area served by AC Transit, one of the transit authorities in the region, will also feature onboard wi-fi.
Anyone knows of other cities where buses have wi-fi?