An important link between system vendor, operator and the PTA when delivering «Bus As A Software»

ITxPT is an organization open to stakeholders in public transport that develops standards for compatible «plug-and-play» connected and back-office IT systems for public transport. The open architecture of ITxPT enables interoperability between systems and devices from different vendors and flexibility for customers to tailor and update systems for specific needs at a significantly lower cost.

In this way, the market opens up for smaller suppliers, this increases competition and makes innovation even faster. Simply put, the ITxPT can be compared to Bluetooth that enables compatibility between devices or Android’s open architecture. A joint protocol should be avaleble so that everyone can relate to it. This is the conception of ITxPT.

Before we get there, there are still some bumps on the road. Looking back on passenger cars and trucks, plans excisted for a long time to standardize the FMS signals, to make it easier for component suppliers to deliver equipment to cars and trucks regardless of brand. Still, a standarized FMS for all vehicles is not yet fully in place. A similar situation can be seen in public transport, where every single component manufacturer has its own protocol on their own systems. The challenge is when you have to publish your protocol in order to communicate with others, or depending on others’ protocols to deliver a complete system to your customer.

A bus operator is therefore dependent on the component vendors being open about their protocols for the communication to flow seamlessly. Here, ITxPT’s standard protocols will make it much easier when a common protocol is in place and will be used.

Traditionally, the bus importer delivered the components to the bus at the factory. To a large extent, it still happens. The difference now is that the bus operator makes direct agreements with new players on the market, the system vendors. Bus operators still want all equipment to be assembled and delivered from the factory, but this can pose challenges if the system vendor offers hardware components that do not meet the factory’s strict requirements for approvals and E-markings. Another challenge may be regarding warranty on equipment purchased by the operator from the system vendor installed by the bus importer on the factory – who is responsible for everything working when the bus is put into daily operation? Who is responsible if something is not working either on hardware or software in the bus? Who pays the fines that may be submitted by the PTA if the system does not deliver the data required? These are new issues that have not previously been as relevant as IT in bus has become a much more complex theme.

Independence and neutrality has always been Metrotek’s strength in the market in which we operate, and we will continue doing so. In order to safeguard all parties’ interests, Metrotek has established itself as an important link between the operator and the provider of systems for the bus bus importer and PTA. Metrotek will offer equipment assembly, commissioning / quality assurance and system monitoring, maintenance and service, as well as the training of key personnel.

If Metrotek takes a larger role with a system vendor, we will also locally in Norway help the operator to deliver the right data to the client. And we will help the bus importer to deliver and handle a living system, as the bus itself is their core area. Metrotek is now a member of ITxPT to keep up to date and has the right expertise to help our customers and partners.