News Day

Free Transperth wi-fi inches closer

AMY EWERS AND SARAH MAKSE

A single tenderer has been selected to provide free wi-fi on Perth’s public transport network.

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes told Western Independent that “a number” of responses were received to a revised call for tenders to provide free wifi to Perth commuters, and the PTA was now negotiating with the preferred tenderer.

“The updated tender offered potential bidders the opportunity to come up with a proposal to provide a free-to-customer wi-fi system covering all or some railway stations, bus stations, railcars, buses and ferries,” Mr Hynes said.

In 2015 the Public Transport Authority asked wi-fi providers to express interest in providing free wi-fi on some Transperth services, at no cost to the government.

But not one provider submitted a proposal that would cost taxpayers nothing, and the PTA rejected all seven proposals.

Mr Hynes has revealed that some respondents provided enough information for the PTA to consider broadening the scope of the project.

So the PTA issued a second tender for wi-fi service provision in June last year.

“The updated tender offered potential bidders the opportunity to come up with a proposal to provide a free-to-customer wi-fi system covering all or some railway stations, bus stations, railcars, buses and ferries,” Mr Hynes said.

“A number of responses were received and the PTA is currently in negotiations with the preferred tenderer.”

Mr Hynes said further information about any free wi-fi would be released “in due course”.

Recently-ousted Minister for Transport Dean Nalder announced the planned wi-fi in 2015.

“We wanted to start enhancing the customer experience so people enjoyed catching public transport,” Mr Nalder told Western Independent last week.

“We have to continue to enhance and improve our public transport.

“Part of it is to build more infrastructure but part of it is utilising existing public transport in a smarter way that attracts more people to it.”

Mr Nalder said he did not know why it had taken so long to achieve free wi-fi on Perth’s public transit network.

But he stressed the importance of understanding the project’s full logistics before widely implementing the service.

“We wanted to make sure it was a quality offering,” he said.

Rail commuter Sarah Whitton, from Karrinyup, said free wi-fi could make her journey more efficient.

IMG_4594

Sarah Whitton at West Leederville Station (Photo: Sarah Makse)

“Some bus stations don’t have a sign saying when the next one is coming so you wouldn’t have to worry,” Ms Whitton said.

Adam Salas, of Carmel in Perth’s outer east, was sceptical about the effectiveness of any PTA wi-fi after experiencing poor connection to the free wi-fi in Perth’s CBD.

“I feel more inclined to use my data because you come across patches where it doesn’t seem to work very well,” Mr Salas said.

Sydney is trialling free wi-fi on more than 50 buses, and Melbourne has provided free wi-fi at some bus and train stations around the CBD since September last year.

Categories: News Day, Transport

Tagged as:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s