Arriva Netherlands, the Dutch rail operator, is completing a rollout of wireless internet on all its trains through specialist provider Nomad Digital. A pilot of ten trains was first trialed early last year, and, following popular demand from passengers, the project has since been extended to fit Nomad wireless routers on its remaining 51 trains, as well as on an additional 38 new Stadler trains going into service at the end of this year. By January 2013, its entire fleet of ninety-nine trains will offer free passenger WiFi.
“People are getting increasingly used to WiFi wherever they go - whether in restaurants or public places - with travellers wanting to get more out of their travel time by always staying connected,” says Patrick Egbertzen, key account manager at Nomad Digital.
Early trials on the initial ten trains with WiFi showed rapid uptake and around 30% of passengers using the free service. Tests have shown internet download speeds of up to 20 megabytes per second, depending on the number of users, while using a single provider. During the pilot, passenger satisfaction increased from 7.3 on trains without the service, to 8 out of 10 with free WiFi – a score rarely seen before.
In future, the company says it is considering improving passenger information on trains by adding an internet portal which can be used to display real-time updates and special offers. Other eventual benefits of the improved connectivity include: the ability to transfer high-quality live images from its CCTV cameras on every train; and more reliable data exchange from train to shore, on everything from a train’s exact location to monitoring fuel efficiency.
“With virtually every train in the Netherlands soon to be connected with free WiFi, all using Nomad Digital, the country leads the way in connectivity on transportation,” says Alexander Eriksen, chief executive of Nomad Digital.