By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Macquarie Telecom

PUBLIC TRANSPORT operator Transit Systems is building up its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities through a telecoms and cloud overhaul, according to its service provider, recently.

The Macquarie Telecom AI and cloud system also provides insights on traffic congestion and passenger loading to improve timetabling and safety, it says.

Transit Systems - the largest operator of metropolitan public bus services in Australia, it states - is now able to, "…monitor, analyse and take action on live data as NBN migration continues and privatisation drives enhanced technology," states Macquarie Telecom, part of Macquarie Telecom Group (ASX: MAQ).

Macquarie’s mobile SIM cards are being used across Transit Systems’ entire staff to monitor data including driver performance, acceleration, ticketing information, engine diagnostics and more in real time, explains MAQ. This data is fed into Macquarie’s data centres and cloud services, which power AI for deep analysis and insights to improve the transport network, it adds.

"Historically, a bus might have used one SIM to provide simple voice communication," said Warren Read-Zorn, Group CIO, Transit Systems.

"The importance of that requirement has not diminished, but now we need so much more.

"Our previous environment was incapable of powering the AI capabilities we needed to stay competitive, which inspired the Macquarie overhaul. This started with mobiles and then the consolidation of our two legacy data centres into one," he said.

Transit Systems_Macquarie Telecom_2.jpg


Ultimately, Transit Systems can assess breaking, acceleration and corner-taking performance, and identify areas for improvement and increased efficiency, explains MAQ. It also provides insights on traffic congestion and passenger loading to improve timetabling and safety, it adds.

As part of the overhaul, Macquarie deployed its SD-WAN services to all 37 of Transit Systems’ depots. This helps manage the speed, efficacy and uptime of each site’s network and ensures drivers and depots can communicate and share data, it says. The SD-WAN services provide multiple network links and can automatically switch between them to ensure maximum efficiency and zero downtime, MAQ explains.



For each site, Macquarie is also managing Transit Systems’ NBN migration, providing faster Wi-Fi speeds, it claims, as depots’ capacity requirements rise. Transit Systems also aims to work with Macquarie and transport authorities to add public Wi-Fi to each fleet over time, it states.

To reduce complexity and cost, the organisation now has a full view of its telecoms and cloud infrastructure through Macquarie’s View platform, as well as 24-hour local support through its HUB customer service centre, adds MAQ.

Transit Systems_Macquarie Telecom_1.jpg


As a number of transport routes across Australia become privatised, the combination of Macquarie, plus an [unnamed] Australian university and Transit Systems’ own expanding AI team is becoming an important competitive differentiator, states Macquarie Telecom.

"The nature of transport operations is changing and we’re building these capabilities further to meet the new demands of the industry," said Read-Zorn.

"The ability to evolve these capabilities and add new digital services to meet consumer and tourist demand will be a major consideration for the future operation of transport routes."


Macquarie Telecom’s group executive Luke Clifton believes Transit Systems is setting the benchmark for how Australian organisations need to modernise.

"Transit Systems is one of the best examples we’ve seen of a customer leveraging our full telco and cloud capabilities to revamp its business," said Clifton.

"The organisation recognised the limitations of the network and infrastructure very early, and instigated improvements well ahead of the industry to use voice, data, mobile, cloud, SD-WAN and NBN to power ahead and increase its competitiveness," he said.

Transit Systems currently provides innovative transport services in New South Wales, Victoria, Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia, as well as international urban bus services in London and Singapore.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook