TES Communication Solutions has announced it is supplying Blackpool's buses and trams with a digital radio upgrade which it claims will give drivers and controllers faster communications.

Blackpool Transport Services said the upgrade from analogue radios to a digital radio system will make its operations “one of the most modern tram and bus networks in the UK”.

The upgrade will include the installation of a new independent wide-area voice and data infrastructure so that operations can carry on even in the event of power cuts or cellular outages. The new radio system will also include a multi-terminal digital control desk to monitor and manage the vehicle fleet.

As part of the deal, each vehicle, including Palladium buses and the modern Flexity2 trams will have a new on-board radio installed, while inspectors will be equipped with mobile devices to allow them to communicate by voice and data to the main control desk or directly to vehicles.

Wayne Smith, operations manager at Blackpool Transport, said: "Our relationship with TES and our work to upgrade and future-proof our communications system is part of our wider strategic plans to embrace digital technology and continue to offer the very best for our customers and our staff. Being able to better support our front line staff with additional real time information is a really positive step forward.”

The upgraded system also supports buses being able to communicate with the central control centre when operating out of the greater Blackpool and Fylde area. Similar systems have been deployed by TES at West Midlands Metro and Manchester Metrolink.

Steve Smith, managing director of TES, said: “This is a huge upgrade on the system and means we can ensure coverage geographically as the network expands. It also means Blackpool Transport has the radio capacity to grow its services while improving driver and passenger safety.

“We have enjoyed a long-term relationship with Blackpool Transport since installing their original system. Our 24/7 managed service allows us to offer support whenever it is needed while also continually looking at improvements that can meet the company’s business priorities.”

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Author: Richard Hook