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16.12.14

Metrolink to become first fully wi-fi enabled tram network in UK

Manchester Metrolink is to become the first light railway in Britain to become fully wi-fi enabled.

By spring next year, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) plans for all 94 of its trams to have on-board wi-fi technology.

TfGM has joined forces with Manchester and Salford City Councils and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) – part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – to fund the scheme.

The 20 buses running the free city centre Metroshuttle service will also receive the upgrade.

Wi-fi has already been trialled on Metrolink, with transport bosses reporting positive feedback from customers who used it. It is hoped the rollout will make the trams a more attractive journey choice, supporting TfGM’s commitment to sustainable travel.

Cllr Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM Committee said: “This is great news and will benefit the millions of people who travel on Metrolink’s trams and Metroshuttle’s buses each year.

“We live in a digital age and people want to make the best use of their travelling time – quick and simple access to digital technology is key to this.

“Greater Manchester is leading the way in the growing provision of wi-fi services on public transport, which in turn takes us one step close to our aim of being a top 20 digital city region by 2020.”

Metrolink trams will start to be fitted out with the technology from early January by mobile internet connectivity specialist Icomera and extra funding has been secured to ensure any new trams brought into service in the next two years will also be fitted with wi-fi capability.

Government digital economy minister Ed Vaizey MP said: “This is fantastic news for Manchester and exactly the type of thing the government’s Superconnected Cities programme was set up to do. Having free public wi-fi on all of Manchester’s trams and Metroshuttle services will transform the digital landscape of Manchester, making it an ever greater place to live, visit and do business.”

Dave Palmer, Managing Director of Icomera UK, said: “Icomera is proud to be supporting this ambitious, forward-thinking project. Our technology is ideal for this digital city initiative, making public transport more user-friendly and communicative.

“TfGM recognises the important role internet connectivity has to play in delivering the 21st century passenger experience. The adaptive nature of our solution will ensure it keeps pace with newer technologies as they become available, maintaining a state-of the-art network for TfGM’s passengers.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Andrew Long   20/12/2014 at 12:43

Excellent. How perverse therefore that the new Siemens Class 700 trains for Go-Via "T S & GN" do not have wi-fi!

Andrew Gwilt   22/12/2014 at 09:14

Other tram operators including Midland Metro (Birmingham), Nottingham Express Transit, Blackpool Trams, London Tramlink (Croydon), Sheffield Supertram and Tyne & Wear Metro (Newcastle & Sunderland) would also get involved in having wi-fi on their fleets and also London Underground would get wi fi at most tube stations across London with London Overground, DLR, Crossrail and London buses may get wi fi. Train operators would also follow on getting wi fi with newer trains in the near future.

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