By: Fabian Cotter

TWO PERTH BUSES and two train stations got free Wi-Fi for the first time under a trial from Monday, 27 August, with two trains to get trial Wi-Fi also by the end of the year, it’s reported recently.

Two buses predominantly operating on the high-frequency Route 950 get first dibs on the WiFi trial.

The free Wi-Fi is available on Perth's public transport network for the first time, with the restricted trial announced by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

It is occurring at the Subiaco and Elizabeth Quay train stations, as well as on board two buses predominantly operating on the high-frequency Route 950. The technology will then be rolled out on two trains operating on the Joondalup and Mandurah Lines later this year, it’s stated.

Areas where Wi-Fi is available will be clearly marked with signage. Passengers are encouraged to submit feedback about their experience through the Transperth website.

According to Transperth, passengers are able to use up to 150MB per device in a 24-hour period. The technology is being delivered by Optus and the contract arrangement allows for the trial to proceed with no direct costs to the State Government, it’s stated.

The results of the trial will be assessed to determine whether the system is rolled out more widely.

Western Australia Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said: "I am pleased to announce that this trial can now begin after a lengthy period of negotiations."

"The Transperth PSM shows passengers are already very happy with their services, but this is something the Government was keen to trial to see if we could further improve the passenger experience.

"I would urge anyone who has used the system to contact Transperth with their feedback."

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According to a PTA spokesperson, in 2015 the Public Transport Authority released an Expression of Interest for the provision of free Wi-Fi on a trial basis. The market, though, did not return a cost neutral response.

However, it did provide sufficient information for the PTA to consider broadening the scope of the offer. In other words, the PTA reissued a tender allowing potential bidders the opportunity to come up with a proposal how they think they could make Wi-Fi viable for them.

This process is now complete with Optus chosen for the trial.

The Public Transport Authority (PTA)'s trial of free Wi-Fi for passengers is at specific locations across the Transperth network.

The trial started at Elizabeth Quay and Subiaco stations and on two high-frequency buses mainly operating on Route 950.

Later this year two B-series trains, which operate on the Joondalup and Mandurah lines, will begin providing free Wi-Fi, with all locations operating for eight weeks from this point, according to the PTA.

All free Wi-Fi zones will be clearly marked with signage. 

This trial is to determine whether the technology can be easily installed across the network at stations and on trains and buses with a sufficient coverage and speeds for passengers, it’s stated. 

Following the trial, technical data and customer feedback will be assessed to determine whether free Wi-Fi is a service that passengers find valuable and can be viably rolled out across the network, it stated.

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