Metrolinx, the Canadian state-owned transport agency, has signed a 5-year deal with Icomera to put WiFi onto all buses and trains in the Toronto area. The contract, said to be worth some Ca$65 million, will see the Swedish/UK supplier provide WiFi connectivity on all 1,475 buses and trains operated by Metrolinx’s subsidiary Go Transit.
According to Canada's Associate Transportation Minister, Kinga Surma, the roll-out is set to begin in the spring of next year, with the government aiming to have all GO vehicles online by the end of 2020. The new WiFi service will also include a portal with free entertainment content.
GO Transit, which also operates the airport rail link connecting Toronto Pearson International Airport to Downtown Toronto, carries over 65 million passengers a year using an extensive network of train and bus services. By 2041, Metrolinx projects that over 10 million people will live in the greater Toronto-Hamilton area making it comparable, in size at least, to Paris or London.
Arguably, the Go service is playing catch up with the Toronto Subway, where commuters have long been able to access WiFi services at stations. BAI Canada, working with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has built a shared wireless WiFi and cellular infrastructure in the City’s subway stations and throughout some tunnels.
By May 2019, all 75 TTC stations had WiFi connectivity. At the same time, BAI was able to announce that it had cellular coverage on all platforms, and throughout nine kilometres of tunnel. On an average weekday, BAI says that it sees 200,000 WiFi logins from 100,000 unique users on the subway.
On-train WiFi services, trackside networks, the growing market for passenger WiFi and on-board entertainment will be the main subjects of BWCS’s WiFi on Trains Conference next June. For information on speaking and sponsorship opportunities at the 2020 event, please contact Ross.Parsons@BWCS.com.
The 2019 conference (www.Traincomms2019.com ) was sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, Fluidmesh, RADWIN and BAI Communications.