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The travelling public of Greater Manchester will enjoy the benefits of modern, clear and reliable digital communication when another large part of the bus network moves over to a new radio system developed with a focus on safety.

Starting in early 2022, the transition will make the fleet of First Manchester buses one of the most well connected in the UK, providing enhanced features to manage real-time communications, bus movements and passenger safety needs.

The move to a Tait tier 3 digital radio system will include First Manchester’s entire operational fleet, including the Vantage buses operating along the traffic-free guided busway route from the city centre to Atherton and Leigh and areas around Manchester city centre, Salford, Oldham and Rochdale.

The new system being designed and installed by industry leader TES Communication Solutions brings enhanced voice and data capability and connectivity via independent infrastructure ensuring continuous communications even in the event of outages or high traffic on cellular networks.

Tim Jenkins, Engineering Support Manager of First Manchester, said: “One of the major benefits of this upgrade, as the operator, will be to manage our services more efficiently, handle any incidents faster thereby improving the service to our customers in Greater Manchester”.

The agreement between TES Communication Solutions and First Manchester is for a comprehensive managed service including the provision of airtime on the new city-wide digital system and 24/7 support for vehicle hardware, multiple control desks, and Ofcom license compliance.

Steve Smith, managing director of TES, said: “Ultimately, this technology helps the bus users to travel more efficiently and safely around the region with a future-proof system that can be enhanced as we progress through the development of the system.

“We will be working very closely with the team at First Manchester to make sure this is as smooth a transition as possible as we deploy this proven market leading technology.”

TES Communication Solutions’ systems have been installed in transport and infrastructure systems around the world where there is a need for mission critical communications including in Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Manchester Metrolink, Midland Metro, and Blackpool Transport in the UK, as well as deployments for organisations such as the MOD, UBS Bank and Astra Zeneca.

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