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March 28, 20184 min read

Transport for London chooses Tait to upgrade 10,000-strong London bus fleet


Tait Communications has been chosen by Transport for London (TfL) to replace the British capital city’s bus radio communications system with a new digital mobile radio system.

The agreement will see Christchurch-headquartered Tait Communications manufacture and replace both the communications infrastructure providing coverage across Greater London and the terminal equipment on London’s fleet of almost 10,000 buses. The contract was signed in London on March 23rd at an event hosted by New Zealand’s High Commissioner, His Excellency the Rt Hon. Sir Jerry Mateparae.

London Transport Commissioner Mike Brown and Tait CEO Garry Diack sign the contract.


Every day, more than 31 million journeys are made across Transport for London’s public transport and main road networks and this critical communications upgrade is one element of TfL’s investment to extend and improve the British capital’s transport network.

Tait Communications has designed the upgraded system to be both a resilient system for today’s every-day needs and as a digital platform for future health and safety effectiveness and operational efficiency. The on-bus equipment is based on Tait’s Unified Vehicle platform, which gives access to multiple carrier standards in addition to mobile radio (ie, next-generation cellular and WiFi), and the ability to run customized data applications to improve operational efficiency and the service provided to travelers.

Garry Diack, Chief Executive of Tait Communications, says TfL’s decision is a strong vote of confidence from arguably one of the world’s most iconic brands in Tait’s technology development.

This award was strongly contested through a rigorous process, and winning it against the major manufacturers in our industry worldwide is very gratifying,” Mr Diack says. “We have greatly valued our historical relationship with Transport for London and regard this very high-tech commitment to our future partnership with London’s millions of daily commuters as a massive return on the research and development focus Tait has undertaken over the last few years.

“The critical communications sector is in a time of rapid change and uncertainty, with customers being bombarded with many technical options and often more promise than reality on which technologies they should invest in. Tait is regarded as an expert and trusted development partner in Public Safety technology solutions, as this contract award testifies.

“We have a 50-year record of working alongside our customers to help them move to next-generation solutions and we are very much looking forward to continuing this journey with Transport for London.

Simon Reed, Transport for London’s Head of Technology and Data: Surface Transport, says,

We are pleased, that after a comprehensive procurement process, we have chosen Tait as our partner for the provision of voice radio services for Surface Transport.

“We have been careful to choose a solution that provides a low risk transition from the existing analogue technology, and also integrates well with the future vision of TfL with open standards based DMR technology and ease of integration with an ITxPT (IT for Public Transport) Principal Member.

TfL’s bus network consists of over 650 contracted bus routes served by over 9500 vehicles with a network of over 19,000 bus stops.

Andrew Gill, the Managing Director of Tait Europe Middle East and Africa, says the extremely challenging procurement process run by TfL has resulted in real value for the customer and the travelling public.

This model of procurement, one that allows for discussion and co-operative working between the customer and supplier, can foster wider competition and true long-term value for money. Tait’s Unified Vehicle digital platform that underpins this new solution creates the ability for TfL and Tait to partner in a long-term development relationship that will respond to TfL’s future and changing needs with agility and increased collaboration.

“In over 20 years in this industry, this has been one of the toughest and most robust processes I’ve worked on,” Mr Gill says. “At its core was TfL’s wish to foster a spirit of collaborative working with key suppliers and it’s this spirit which has allowed a mid-sized company to compete successfully against much larger competition.

“The decision to select Tait Communications means this crucial transport network will now move to an innovative, cost-effective solution that will assist Transport for London to continue improving its service to the public and be a model for other public transport providers. For Tait, this contract is reflective of our expanding UK-based business, with a growing team of experienced engineers and project managers, and new apprentices to ensure we keep growing and developing talent in the UK.

Download our Unified Critical Communications for Transport brochure to find out more about the ways Tait Unified Vehicle and other Tait solutions can address and solve public transport industry challenges.

For even more about how Tait solutions for transport keep citizens around the world moving, click here.


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