Telent and Tait to revamp National Express West Midlands communications

Telent has been awarded a contract by National Express West Midlands to implement upgraded Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) communications and services to more than 1,500 buses in the region.  The long-term contract has an estimated value of £14 million and will be provided as a managed services agreement.

The contract covers nine bus depots, including all routes across the West Midlands conurbation, and the new communication solution includes the phased replacement of the existing analogue technology and core communications infrastructure currently used in the vehicles, control rooms and associated radio base station sites. Upgrading to a DMR Tier III system will provide National Express West Midlands with digital speech clarity and system resilience.

Telent is partnering with Tait Communications for the migration from analogue to DMR technology. The new radio systems will be initially deployed in analogue mode and, when all vehicles in the fleet have been upgraded with the new technology, the system will be switched over to digital mode. This will ensure minimal disruption to regular bus services, and a seamless transition for end users.

Adrian Philips, solutions architect, Telent, explained, “As an engineer who has been working on analogue and digital communication solutions, and in particular this customer, for more than 35 years, I am thrilled that Telent will be playing such an integral part in modernising public transport in the West Midlands.

“It is essential that public transport receives the most up to date and sophisticated technology, and by migrating to DMR systems, this will ensure that buses in the region stay fully connected and maintained.”

Steve Smith, operation technology manager, National Express West Midlands, added, “When identifying suppliers to work with for this major upgrade project, we identified Telent’s fully managed service as, in our opinion, the most comprehensive and reputable solution.

“Working with Telent as a long-term partner will enable us to take advantage of the latest and most innovative radio technology for our fleet, which is critical to the smooth delivery of our operation and quality of service to our customers. The transition will increase overall passenger and bus driver experience by providing added protection on all of our bus services.”

The migration will be fully managed and delivered by Telent and includes GPS positional tracking, emergency call prioritisation, status messaging, ticket machine integration, dynamic group call allocation and smartphone PTT application.

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Charlotte Hathway

Charlotte is the editor of Comms Business and writes about the latest technology innovations and business developments across the Channel. Got a story? Get in touch –

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