Radio System Used to Record Nexus Ferry Passenger TrafficIn conjunction with Radio Communication Manufacturer Icom UK, North Shields company, Southern Electronics has designed an innovative yet practical way of recording passenger traffic on the Tyne Ferry using radio communication equipment. The solution utilises RMS (Radio Messaging System) and Icom radios and is a response to legislative demands made since the Marchioness disaster, which require all ferry operators to record passenger traffic. The system, used by Transport Operator Nexus, records all passenger traffic on a central computer and provides records should the company need to check them in the future. Nexus is the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive that operates the area's public transport network. This includes the ferry service that travels across the Tyne, connecting the communities of North and South Shields. A ferry service has been running here since the 14th Century and today carries half a million passengers yearly. Paul Southern, Director at installing dealer Southern Electronics, said, Nexus came to us with a specific safety requirement regarding logging passenger traffic. I discussed this with Jon Brooks (Icom Marine Dealer Manager) who, together with Icom Commercial Technical Support, recommended the RMS Solution. The system including full software integration took only one week to install.' Each Ferry has an IC-F2610 UHF transceiver installed, which allows the ferry operator to directly communicate with a counterpart IC-F2610 in the Ferry Offices housed on either side of the Tyne. An operator on the Ferry counts the passengers onboard and contacts the skipper who inputs the number into the numeric pad on the radio. This is then transmitted to both transceivers on either side of the Tyne. Both these units are directly linked to a computer where the information is stored. The data may be used to check punctuality as well as passenger numbers as the system can automatically generate reports for Nexus and provides a detailed record of the number of customers on Bill Jackson, Ferry Manager for Nexus said, 'By law it is compulsory to record passenger numbers boarding a ferry and the system has been very good at doing that. It is law passed as a result of the Marchioness disaster that all ferries have to know how many people they have onboard. The MCA checked the whole operation to ensure everything was up to standard, they trailled and checked the operation on the Ferry. The MCA inspected and approved the system on this basis.' Paul Southern, added, "For several years we have supplied and maintained Nexus's marine electronic equipment. Nexus are an important customer for Southern Electronics and Icom. If you look around at the operation, you will see Icom equipment being used everywhere, from the mobile units on the Ferry to the Base Station in the Ferry Offices. You will even see that Icom handhelds are used on board the ferries for emergencies.' Ian Lockyer, Marketing Manager for Icom UK Ltd, said, 'RMS already offers incredible benefits for a wide range of organisations from prisons to shopping centres and now for maritime safety. RMS supports a broad range of communication methods including SELCALL, FFSK (allowing text messaging), GPS and mapping. Based on customer requirements, RMS offers essential safety features such as Mandown alerts, panic buttons and anti-theft devices. The application of recording passenger numbers and departure and arrival times is very simplistic but no less effective. This is just one of the many solutions that the RMS-Net solution can provide.'