Traincomms News from BWCS

Passengera to Supply WiFi to Riders on the Riyadh Metro

Friday 25 Mar 2022

Czech supplier Passengera has announced it will be supplying passenger WiFi services on the Riyadh Metro. The brand new, six-line, 85 station, train system, currently under construction in the Saudi capital, will serve a population of over 8 million residents. Passengera will be handling the digitisation of the passenger experience – adding WiFi on board, monetising channels and providing a management and monitoring suite.

The Prague-based supplier has won several substantial projects over the past few years and it recently reported an order book of some US$10 million. Not surprisingly, the recent deal with the consortium constructing the Saudi system means that the Czech company will be expanding its presence in the country as well as recruiting more staff for its European offices.

It is currently estimated that the cost of constructing Riyadh’s 176km long Metro system will run to around US$22 billion. The project forms part of the hugely ambitious Saudi Vision 2030, which the nation’s rulers hope will help wean the economy off its dependency on oil revenues. The Riyadh Metro system is viewed as playing a key role in helping the capital become a tourist centre for the Arabic world.

The metro, which is being touted as one of the most modern in the world, launched testing operations in December 2021 and will eventually see 183 trains running throughout the day.

Siemens, Alstom, and Bombardier are all involved in the construction consortium and all of the trains will be equipped with high-end technologies to ensure a better traveling experience.

Jan Kolář, CEO of Passengera, described his company’s role in the project: “Passengera has been selected to provide a complete WiFi system for passengers and a monetisation solution – everything from the design to the implementation of our software that underlies the whole ecosystem. The project includes the design of the communications infrastructure, the installation of WiFi in several different types of trains and metro stations, quality control, connection strength, and seamless user authentication. Part of the ten-year contract also includes a management and monitoring suite (MMS), which enables the metro operator to monitor and manage all of the 1,100 installed devices in real-time.”

According to the Czech supplier, one of the key challenges was to integrate its solution into the ecosystem which consists of components from many different manufacturers, in a way that ensures smooth and seamless operation. This includes both software and hardware infrastructure as well as the passenger experience. With seamless authentication, the users won't even notice that the various devices from different manufacturers in the trains and stations are “handing them over” to each other as the passengers move through the Metro.

Passengera’s systems are currently used by Czech Railways and the German company Flixbus, amongst others. The company was founded six years ago under the auspices of Czech tech giant Simac Technik and it currently has a team of several dozen employees.

Track-side connectivity and on-board WiFi provision will be the main subjects of this year’s Traincomms Conference. 

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