Delays in a new procurement have led London Bus Services (LBSL) to extend its contract with Trapeze ITS for a communications and information system up to five more years.
Under a £62 million deal the Swiss based company will continue to operate the iBus automatic vehicle location system, which was due to expire this month, until at least May 2025 with options to extend until May 2027.
This comes in response to the procurement of a next generation system, iBus2, taking much longer than foreseen. The procurement is still ongoing with the tender notice, which values the replacement at £395 million, having been published in April of last year.
According to the notice for the existing contract extension, the terms have recently been agreed and are subject to approval by the governance activities of LBSL and its parent organisation Transport for London (TfL). It has been awarded without a competitive tender with the aim of keeping down costs and ensuring an orderly and low risk transition to the next generation system.
The notice says it would not be feasible for TfL to extend the contract for just one of the two lots - for on-bus and back office systems - and find a short term supplier for the other as it would create a need for a solution to enable any incoming supplier to interface their systems with those of Trapeze. There are concerns around interoperability and value for money.
Specification for ITxTP
The tender for the replacement specifies that iBus2 should enable the introduction of assets that are compliant with the ITxTP open architecture for interoperability and data accessibility, along with networking, voice, data and video technologies.
TfL has for several years placed a premium on the provision of APIs to enable app developers to use real time information feeds on the location of its buses.
The first contract for iBus was awarded to Siemens in 2005, then novated to Trapeze in 2009. In 2015 it was extended for seven years.