Connecting Ontario Northland with Onboard Passenger Wi-Fi & Entertainment

Offering safe, reliable transportation services to, from and across Northern Ontario.

A laptop showing Avatar: The Way of Water

On November 15, 2023, Ontario Northland Transit Commission (ONTC) held a public event in Cochrane, Ontario introducing the new onboard Passenger Wi-Fi (by way of an Icomera X-Series mobile access router) and entertainment portal (GoView) on the full 49-vehicle bus fleet. The same passenger experience will also be coming to the iconic Polar Bear Express passenger train, creating a seamless experience between bus and passenger rail travel.

The Polar Bear Express service provides vital connections between the communities of Cochrane and Moosonee, through some of the province’s most remote areas.

Four people walking past a train car on a sunny day
Image from Ontario Northland Transit Commission (ONTC)

Members of the community enjoyed an opportunity to board the train and bus to experience the Passenger Wi-Fi and GoView entertainment portal. Dignitaries joined ONTC’s CEO, Chad Evans and Commission Chair, Alan Spacek as they announced the start of this project, marking a significant milestone in a commitment to modernization.

Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal, President of Icomera North America said:

Trips can fly by when passengers are connected and entertained; commutes can feel easy when they are productive. We are thrilled to bring passengers seamless travel – from one mode to another – from Ontario Northland bus to the Polar Bear Express passenger rail service.

A businessman stands in the aisle of a train speaking to the passengers
Image from ONTC
Scott Mitton, Head of Business Development – Technology for Plan Group, Inc. said:

Plan Group, an EQUANS Company, is proud to be the installation team on this groundbreaking project. Plan Group will perform the installation in accordance with the Icomera (design documentation, project deployment schedule. Our Teams will work as one during the installation efforts by providing the installation modification procedure, quality assurance inspection and testing procedures to validate the work before proceeding to Commissioning and Acceptance Testing. As part of the installation support, training guidance will be provided to ONTC installation staff.

Two men sit on a bus holding an Icomera mobile access router
Image from ONTC

Regional Connected Bus Travel

In January 2023, Icomera partnered with ONTC in designing an onboard connectivity solution for the bus fleet. Ontario Northland’s bus fleet provides transportation from Hearst to Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, and many points in between.

Installations were completed in early October, just in time for the holiday peak travel season. The bus fleet is now equipped with a first-class experience where passengers have access to reliable mobile Internet and entertainment – even on journeys through rural or remote areas – and local information in both English and French.

A bus passenger holds a phone and looks at movie suggestions

Roger Matthews, Icomera Chief Commercial Officer said:

The onboard experience continues to evolve in all kinds of exciting ways. Because GoView entertainment content is hosted directly on the onboard hardware and delivered directly to passengers’ mobile devices, there’s no need to download an app and we are proud to be bringing our platform to Ontario Northland.

These digital transformation projects achieve ONTC’s 2022-2023 Business Plan goals of improving operational efficiency of business lines and consolidating the data expense per vehicle. The projects will continue to be spearheaded by Icomera Canada, led by the project management and technical services team out of Mississauga, and supported globally.

This article was originally published by Icomera.


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