Free Wi-Fi coming to Edinburgh buses and trams

Today sees the tender close for a government-funded project to bring free Wi-Fi to Edinburgh’s public transport network.

Edinburgh is set to get free public Wi-Fi across its bus and tram network in a government funded push to make the city more connected.

A tender for the project, which would see 713 Lothian buses and 27 new trams installed with Wi-Fi equipment, was launched in December and closes today.

The winner will receive funding from the central government’s watered down Super-Connected Cities scheme, which the Scottish government turned into its own Connected Capital programme in May 2013 to incorporate wireless technologies into the goals, alongside bringing superfast broadband and improved mobile access to the city.

“The introduction of passenger Wi-Fi on all of Edinburgh’s buses and trams would be great for our passengers and help the city to become a truly connected capital,” said Ian Craig, chief executive of Transport for Edinburgh.

“Creating a free Wi-Fi network on our newly integrated bus and tram fleet is a logical next step and we’re confident that we’ll be able to put together a very strong case for UK Government approval.”

If approved, the contract could be worth up to £2m, but Transport for Edinburgh said the tender process was an exercise to identify potential suppliers and help inform and refine the final business case.

However, the plans have already received the backing of Edinburgh City Council.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport convener, said: “We’ve been looking at the possibility of providing Wi-Fi on trams for some time as we believe it is an important part of providing a modern, 21st century transport system for Edinburgh.”

“As part of this new integrated service, it was important to make Wi-Fi available across all public transport run by Transport for Edinburgh and in doing this we’ve been able to tender for a contract that will provide best value overall.”

If a tender gets the go ahead, Transport for Edinburgh hopes to have the network up and running by the end of 2014.

Councillor Hinds added: “It is all part of Transport for Edinburgh’s vision to provide a new approach to public transport in the city – one that embraces the future and focuses on providing the best possible service to passengers travelling on both bus and tram.”



Read more on Wireless networking