Prasa turns to tech to solve train security and safety issues
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THE Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has experienced many challenges due to old systems which have also contributed to a number of train accidents.
Prasa has now turned to technology to improve its services and in the process make trains safe and avoid unnecessary accidents. It has issued a tender to enter a five-year contract, which will see its nationwide ICT network being replaced. The scope of work includes its campus, data centre, various offices, stations, depots, wide area, and metropolitan area networks, with two years to complete the implementation, followed by three years of support and maintenance.
Prasa’s request for proposals has attracted significant interest from the ICT industry, resulting in over 200 queries from potential bidders.
Speaking about future improvements at Prasa, its chief executive had this to say: “We are building a rail system that is definitely going to be a world class system,” chief executive of Prasa Zolani Matthews, told Parliament yesterday.
Matthews also said that Prasa is using "the latest technology" to frustrate would-be vandals, including bank-like security doors in substations and switching to low-copper cables.
"Criminals know what to target … It is organised crime trying to destroy the networks,"
In its presentation before Parliament, Prasa said it aims to refurbish substations, fix perways, signalling systems, level crossings, and electronic display boards and rehabilitate public access systems across the country, with time frames between March and September next year. According to Prasa’s presentation, plans for these projects will be approved by October.
Due to queries and massive interest by tech companies the agency is making changes to the specified bill of quantities and pricing schedule, as well as pushing the submission deadline to October 1.